Motorists face new law for stopped emergency vehicles

New Brunswick motorists will soon be required by law to slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles, Public Safety Minister Robert Trevors announced on Tuesday.

The new law will "help ensure that the drivers do not collide with an authorized emergency vehicle or endanger any person outside that vehicle," he said in a statement.

It will "protect the people who we depend upon to protect us, including police officers, paramedics and firefighters, from roadside injuries or even death."

Changes to the provincial Motor Vehicle Act will take effect on Jan. 1.

Anyone who violates the new provisions will be fined $292.50 and lose three points off of their driver's licence, Trevors said.

The changes come less than three months after a Sûreté du Québec officer was struck and killed by a passing vehicle in the Laurentians.

Donovan Lagrange, 33, was hit while walking back to his patrol car from two other vehicles he had pulled over in a speed trap on Highway 640 East, about 30 minutes northwest of Montreal.

Under the new law in New Brunswick, drivers who are on the same side of a road or highway as a stopped emergency vehicle with a flashing red light will have slow down and proceed with caution, said Trevors.

"The driver must take into account the condition of the highway, the flow of traffic and weather conditions to ensure that it is safe to proceed," he said.

In addition, if there are two or more lanes of traffic, drivers will be required to move over to another lane "if it can be done safely," said Trevors.

Up until now, New Brunswick motorists have only been required to yield right-of-way to approaching emergency vehicles with activated lights and sirens, moving as close as possible to the right-hand edge of the roadway until the emergency vehicle has passed.

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