With Niagara entering phase two of the province’s re-opening plan and more vehicles returning to local roads, CAA Niagara wants to remind motorists to slow down and move over when they see an emergency vehicle, including a tow truck, on the side of the road. With nearly 100 tow truck operators killed in North America each year from being struck by oncoming traffic, failure to reduce speed and give emergency vehicles an appropriate amount of space is a common and dangerous problem.
CAA Niagara recently launched a specially designed Slow Down, Move Over mobile app, which allows tow truck operators to record the date, time and location of close calls wherein a driver or service vehicle was nearly struck by oncoming traffic. Since February, 65 such incidents have been recorded by CAA operators along Niagara roads.
“We receive almost 100,000 emergency roadside calls per year,” said Peter Van Hezewyk, President and CEO of CAA Niagara. “During periods of poor weather our club responds to more than 1,000 calls in a single a day. Our drivers are often helping motorists on the side of highways and busy roads, which is why it’s so important to obey the law and give our operators room to work.”
Between 2013 and 2018, more than 9,000 Ontario motorists were charged by the OPP with failing to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles. In 2019, an additional 1,891 charges were laid.
Motorists who fail to slow down and move over for emergency roadside workers can be charged under the Move Over law, which can include a fine of $400 to $2,000, three demerit points upon conviction, and a possible suspension of driver’s licence for up to 2 years.
“Our roadside heroes help our Members and the broader community get out of dangerous situations each day. Please, do your part and simply slow down, and move over,” added Van Hezewyk.