Summer in BC often means “road trip”. Everyone gets moving, whether they’re on their way to the campground, beach or lake, or just hitting the open road. At the same time, road work is at its peak, taking advantage of the sun to get repairs finished before the colder rainy days return. More vehicles on the highways combined with more workers on the side of the road has traditionally been a recipe for disaster – in the past ten years, almost 240 roadside workers have been hit, and 15 of them were killed.
BC highway safety means “slow down, move over”
However, there’s a new rule designed to keep everyone safe on the roads. As of January 1 2015, “Slow Down, Move Over” is in effect, meaning that everyone is required to slow down by 10km when passing an official vehicle, and to move into the far lane if safe to do so. “Official vehicle” refers to all emergency or maintenance vehicles – any vehicle with a red, green or amber flashing light. This rule is designed to keep everyone working on the roads safe, and it is non-negotiable. Failure to slow down and move over will result in $175 fine as well as three points on your driver’s license. The BC RCMP has proven that they are serious about this, with operations set up on various highways designed to ensure that everyone is aware of this rule. One recent operation resulted in over 20 violation fines for drivers who failed to slow down and move over.
Coquihalla motor vehicle crash
The BC RCMP is focused on this rule because evidence shows that BC’s highways are becoming more dangerous for emergency and maintenance workers. One notable example was the recent three-vehicle crash on the Coquihalla just outside of Merritt, when a tour bus failed to slow down and move over when approaching a car and tow-truck on the side of the highway, and ended up crashing into them. Over three dozen people were sent to the hospital as a result, including the tow truck driver who was seriously injured. Drivers of all types of vehicles can “Slow Down, Move Over” when approaching emergency or maintenance vehicles, and do their part to keep everyone safe on BC’s highways.
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