Drivers Putting Roadside Workers at Risk
This video, courtesy the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, demonstrates drivers neglecting the Slow Down, Move Over law
Prince George, B.C. – A new BCAA survey shows that unsafe driver behaviours are putting the lives of roadside workers at risk.
BCAA commissioned the survey (conducted by Insights West) to improve driver awareness of the existing Slow Down, Move Over Law and to remind drivers how to safely drive past a roadside scene.
From 2004-2013, more than 240 roadside workers have been struck by passing vehicles. 15 of those were killed.
“I have at least one close call a week, where I’m helping someone whose car has broken down and a driver speeds by just inches from me,” says Al Lam, tow truck driver and roadside assistance service tech with BCAA. “I can actually feel the gust of air from the car on my back.”
According to the survey, Al is not alone, as 48 per cent of respondents have witnessed drivers speed by a roadside scene and 46 per cent have seen drivers zoom by too close to the scene.
Forty-three per cent noted abrupt lane changes, 79 per cent noted ‘rubbernecking’ which slows and distracts drivers while 11 per cent have seen drivers nearly hit roadside workers or someone involved in the scene.
The Slow Down Move Over Law requires drivers to slow down and move over for any vehicle stopped alongside the road that has flashing red, blue or yellow lights to give roadside workers enough room to safely do their jobs.
Those vehicles include tow trucks, roadside assistance techs, road maintenance and utility crews, police, firefighters, and emergency responders.
According to the law, motorists must slow their speed to 70 km/h when in an 80 km/h or over zone and 40 km/h when in an under-80 km/h zone.
If travelling on a multi-lane road, and it’s safe to do so, drivers must also move into the other lane going in the same direction to drive past any stopped vehicle with flashing lights. Failure to do so can result in a $173 fine.
The survey also shows while most drivers are aware of the Slow Down, Move Over Law, most came up short on what the law entails.
Over 80 per cent incorrectly identified the speed reduction required by the law, 59 per cent are unaware of which coloured flashing lights are indicators to follow the law and 43 per cent don’t know that they need to change lanes.