OPP to Educate (July 25-31) and then Enforce (Aug.1-7/11) “Move Over” Laws To Ensure Safety Of Emergency Personnel – section 159 (2)(3) of Ontario H.T.A
Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officers, other police service personnel, ambulance workers and firefighters will be out in force this holiday weekend keeping Ontario’s roads safe and rescuing the unfortunate. But their own lives will be endangered by drivers who do not obey “Move Over” legislation.
In Ontario, Section 159 (2)(3) of the Highway Traffic Act requires drivers to slow down and proceed with caution when passing an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the highway with its lights activated. If the highway has more than one lane, the law requires the driver to move over and leave one lane between their vehicle and the parked emergency vehicle if it can be done safely. Failure to do so can result in fines from $400 to $2,000 and three demerit points for a first offence.
“Officers report that often it is older drivers who are ignorant of this law since it was enacted in 2003 after many current motorists already had their licence. Ignorance of the law is not an excuse to endanger the life of a police officer or an emergency worker,” says OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.
In partnership with the media, Ministry of Transportation of Ontario and other police services, the OPP will conduct an educational campaign to make motorists aware of their obligations from July 25 to 31. From August 1 to 7, OPP officers will conduct a focussed enforcement campaign aimed squarely at drivers who continue to violate this law.
“This is an important education and targeted enforcement campaign. Since 1989, five OPP officers have been killed doing their job on the sides of Ontario roadways and many more have been injured. Our colleagues at other police services, ambulance and fire services have also lost friends and co-workers to these preventable roadside collisions,” says Larry Beechey, OPP Deputy Commissioner for Traffic Safety and Operational Support.
The OPP has produced posters and information cards on the Move Over law for the education campaign. A high quality, 30-second video about the law has been recorded for use in theatres and for broadcast and posting by interested television stations and web sites. Scripts for Public Service Announcements on the Move Over laws for radio stations that want to contribute to educating of the driving public are also available. All materials are bilingual.
OPP officers will be out in force this week and throughout the holiday weekend targeting the “big four” causal factors for collisions on Ontario roads: aggressive driving, lack of driver and passenger restraints, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and distracted driving.
When these irresponsible driving practices inevitably cause collisions, ambulance and fire personnel will be working alongside police officers to save lives. All drivers should slow down, proceed with caution and move over if it can be done safely.
What the Ontario Highway Traffic Act states about this law:
Approaching, following emergency vehicles
Stop on approach of vehicle with flashing lights or bell or siren sounding
159. (1) The driver of a vehicle, upon the approach of a police department vehicle with its bell or siren sounding or with its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light or red and blue light, or upon the approach of an ambulance, fire department vehicle or public utility emergency vehicle with its bell or siren sounding or its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light, shall immediately bring such vehicle to a standstill,
(a) as near as is practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway and parallel therewith and clear of any intersection; or
(b) when on a roadway having more than two lanes for traffic and designated for the use of one-way traffic, as near as is practicable to the nearest curb or edge of the roadway and parallel therewith and clear of any intersection. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.
Slow down on approaching stopped emergency vehicle
(2) Upon approaching an emergency vehicle with its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light or red and blue light that is stopped on a highway, the driver of a vehicle travelling on the same side of the highway shall slow down and proceed with caution, having due regard for traffic on and the conditions of the highway and the weather, to ensure that the driver does not collide with the emergency vehicle or endanger any person outside of the emergency vehicle. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.
(3) Upon approaching an emergency vehicle with its lamp producing intermittent flashes of red light or red and blue light that is stopped on a highway with two or more lanes of traffic on the same side of the highway as the side on which the emergency vehicle is stopped, the driver of a vehicle travelling in the same lane that the emergency vehicle is stopped in or in a lane that is adjacent to the emergency vehicle, in addition to slowing down and proceeding with caution as required by subsection (2), shall move into another lane if the movement can be made in safety. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.
Following fire department vehicle
(4) No driver of a vehicle shall follow in any lane of a roadway at a distance of less than 150 metres a fire department vehicle responding to an alarm. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.
(5) Nothing in subsection (2) or (3) prevents a driver from stopping his or her vehicle and not passing the stopped emergency vehicle if stopping can be done in safety and is not otherwise prohibited by law. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.
(6) Every person who contravenes subsection (1), (2), (3) or (4) is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable,
(a) for a first offence, to a fine of not less than $400 and not more than $2,000; and
(b) for each subsequent offence, to a fine of not less than $1,000 and not more than $4,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than six months, or to both. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.
Time limit for subsequent offence
(7) An offence referred to in subsection (6) committed more than five years after a previous conviction for an offence referred to in that subsection is not a subsequent offence for the purpose of clause (6) (b). 2009, c. 5, s. 49.
Driver’s licence suspension
(8) If a person is convicted of an offence under subsection (6), the court may make an order suspending the person’s driver’s licence for a period of not more than two years. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.
Appeal of suspension
(9) An appeal may be taken from an order under subsection (8) or a decision to not make the order in the same manner as from a conviction or an acquittal under subsection (6). 2009, c. 5, s. 49.
Stay of order on appeal
(10) Where an appeal is taken under subsection (9) from an order under subsection (8), the court being appealed to may direct that the order shall be stayed pending the final disposition of the appeal or until otherwise ordered by that court. 2009, c. 5, s. 49.
(11) In this section,
“emergency vehicle” means,
(a) an ambulance, fire department vehicle, police department vehicle or public utility emergency vehicle,
(b) a ministry vehicle operated by an officer appointed for carrying out the provisions of this Act or the Public Vehicles Act, while the officer is in the course of his or her employment,
(c) a vehicle while operated by a conservation officer, fishery officer, provincial park officer or mine rescue training officer, while the officer is in the course of his or her employment,
(d) a vehicle while operated by a provincial officer designated under the Environmental Protection Act, the Nutrient Management Act, 2002, the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Pesticides Act, the Safe Drinking Water Act, 2002 or the Toxics Reduction Act, 2009, while the officer is in the course of his or her employment, or
(e) a vehicle as prescribed for the purposes of paragraph 5 of subsection 62 (15.1). 2009, c. 5, s. 49; 2009, c. 19, s. 68 (4).
159.1 Repealed: 2009, c. 5, s. 49.