Slow Down & Move Over – Protecting BC Emergency Workers

Over 400 emergency workers in BC have been injured or killed on BC roads. The scene of a car accident is one of the most dangerous places for first responders such as police officers, fire and ambulance personnel, tow truck operators, special police constables, conservation officers and park rangers. It is disturbing to know that many are injured in the line of duty.

Just last week, an emergency crew in Witchita, Kansas was attending an accident when another car hydroplaned into the median and crashed into the emergency workers. Kevin Wren works as a dispatcher in the emergency room at Via Christi Health at St. Francis. He knows the crew that got hurt, but this hits close to home.

Wren used to be an E.M.S. worker. He lost his leg on the job when a driver hit him on an icy road. He wants drivers to slow down.

“When we have everything lit up with lights and flares, we need drivers to take care of us. Give us the room that we need so we can work,” Wren said. Experts stress the importance of safety at the scene of an accident and want motorists to have the same concern.

According to the BC Motor Vehicle Act, BC has a regulation to protect emergency workers and first responders when they are attending incidents on the road.  You must ‘slow down and move over’ in either direction if you encounter a stopped emergency vehicle. This should be common sense but it is also the law:

  • Drivers must always yield the right of way to an approaching emergency vehicle.
  • Drivers must slow their speed to:
    • 70km/h when in an 80km/h or over zone
    • 40km/h when in an under 80km/h zone
    • Drivers must always yield the right of way to approaching emergency vehicles that have their lights and siren on.

Drivers who fail to yield to a moving emergency vehicle face a fine and driver penalty points. The fine is $173.00 and 3 ICBC driver penalty points. But the fact is, slowing down and paying attention is the best course of action. Don’t be the cause of more emergency responders injuries.