'Move over' law doesn't go far enough to address speed, says firefighter group
A group that represents firefighters in Newfoundland and Labrador wants to modify the current 'move over' law to make roads and highways safer for their members.
The province introduced the law in 2014. It requires drivers to slow down, move their vehicles over to the side when approaching stopped emergency, enforcement or other designated vehicles and to yield to those heading to an emergency.
"We've had some pretty close calls," said Duane Antle, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Fire Services.
"People have had to run to the ditch to get out of the way. We even had one firefighter who, while he thankfully wasn't hurt, was actually struck by a vehicle a few years ago."
Antle said the three-year-old law has been a good thing and has made responders safer, but it could be amended to put a little more pressure on drivers to slow down to the lowest possible speed — and not just take their foot off the gas for a few seconds like they often do.
"Speed is the big one," Antle told the Corner Brook Morning Show. "If we could see a definition of what slow down means. That is one of the key pieces we are working on."
Responsibility of motorists
The group is working with Service NL to bolster the law. Talks have been positive so far, Antle says, but he won't go into specifics as negotiations are still ongoing,
He said besides actually modifying the law, there is also a public awareness aspect to getting people to change their driving habits when they see emergency responders at work on the side of the road.
"There's lots of things that can be done, and they all don't have to be legislative. I think the biggest part in this falls back to us as motorists," he said.
"The public could try to make a little bit more of an effort. When we see an emergency vehicle coming at us, pull to the right, and give that vehicle lots of room. Make sure that when we drive up on an emergency scene on the highway that we slow down as much as we safely can."
Check out what the law requires you to do: