Serious crash underscores daily road safety issues faced by police: WPS

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Serious crash underscores daily road safety issues faced by police: WPS

No officers were seriously injured, but a crash that destroyed the back end of a parked police vehicle over the weekend underscores the need for drivers to be more mindful behind the wheel and follow the rules of the road, Winnipeg police say.

An officer had just pulled over a driver for a traffic violation on Fermor Avenue at Navin Street Sunday afternoon when his vehicle was hit from behind. 

The officer is recovering and the driver of the vehicle that the police pulled over also suffered minor injuries, police said.

"This incident is a reminder for all of the public that our officers are out every day patrolling trying to make sure your family is safe," said Staff Sgt. Sean Pollock. "There was a lack of recognition and understanding of what the laws of the roadway are."

Pollock said it's incumbent on every Manitoba driver to understand that emergency, fire and police vehicles have the right of way on all roads. That means slowing down, making space for, or pulling over in the event a police vehicle is parked on the shoulder of a highway or road, he said.

"It's your responsibility as a driver to make sure that you slow down," he said.

"We don't want to see any other instances where one of our officers is injured or god forbid killed while they're out doing their jobs."

Without commenting on this particular crash, Pollock said the force is seeing more examples of drivers not respecting emergency equipment like flashing lights that are regularly activated on emergency vehicles at a stop.

The Highway Traffic Act states that any member of the public operating a vehicle on the road has to pull over and stop to let an emergency vehicle pass when it's lights and sirens are going, Pollock said. The Act also stipulates drivers must signal and shift into the outside lane whenever police vehicles are pulled over on the shoulder.

"We expect individuals to heed [the laws], we want them to slow down, we want to remind them to pull over and give our people room to do the work to keep your families and our families safe."

Pollock said he is glad the officer was in the police vehicle at the time of the crash because it offered some protection from the impact.