Do you know the law when it comes to driving past people on the highway?
Drivers got a reminder today on the old Island Highway when Nanaimo RCMP and BCAA staged another ‘slow down, move over’ awareness campaign.
In B.C., motorists approaching vehicles stopped alongside the road that have flashing red, blue or yellow lights are required to move over and slow down to 70 kilometres per hour in areas where the speed limit is 80km/h or higher, or to 40km/h where the speed limit is 70km/h or lower.
This includes slowing down and moving over for vehicles used by maintenance workers, utility workers, police officers, firefighters, paramedics, tow truck operators, commercial vehicle safety enforcement personnel, land surveyors, animal control workers, garbage collectors and other roadside workers.
Mid Island Towing parked a tow truck and ‘broken-down’ vehicle close to the Dorman Road intersection April 29 while officials observed how well Islanders would respect the rules. And, when necessary, offer a few reminders.
“Today we’re here to educate and bring awareness to the slow down, move over law in British Columbia,” said Ravi Dhaliwhal, BCAA senior manager of automotive operations.
“We’re just here to educate and bring awareness. We’re not here to penalize anybody…” he said. “We’re so passionate about this because it’s such an important campaign for us, to make sure that our roadside workers are safe when they’re working on the side of the road.”
In just under one hour, Nanaimo RCMP pulled over more than 110 drivers who disobeyed the rule, but aside from those who were speeding excessively – one driver was ticketed for driving 108km/h in the 70 km/h zone – most drivers were merely handed warnings and educational pamphlets advising them of the rule.
“This is a very critical and important thing for us as emergency workers, because we are in that category, and [it’s about] safety for us on the side of the road when people are flying by us and we’re trying to take care of you when you’re broken down,” said Steve Blunt, driver with Mid Island Towing. “It’s become more and more of a concern for us.”
He said the speeds aren’t generally too fast on the section of highway where Friday’s event was held, but the side of the road is narrow and working there is dangerous.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re doing 70km/h or 100km/h, we’re still at risk,” Blunt said.