Of all vehicles pulled over to the side of roadways, especially on highways, you will run across police cruisers, tow trucks, and EMS dealing with various situations. After decades of a law having been in effect that demands that you slow down and move over when passing them, the RCMP is reporting that it is one of the most violated laws of them all.

Portage la Prairie RCMP community and media liaison officer Constable Larry Neufeld speaks on behalf of the RCMP and says it's extremely problematic.

"Our officers are there every day pulling over vehicles, and the number of vehicles that travel past without slowing down, is quite astounding," notes Neufeld. "A lot of the reasons we get from people are, 'Well, we don't know. We don't understand that we have to move over.' And yet it has been in law for as long as I can remember, and I've had my license for like 40 years. So, it is something that is mandatory. We are not seeing a decrease in it with the signage that we have, Our emergency service partners like tow trucks, fire, and ambulance are dealing with the same issue there. People are not moving over, they're not slowing down, and we would really like the public to take note that these people's lives are at risk just stepping out onto a busy highway like that. So, we would like people to actually pay attention to their surroundings, pay attention to the law, and it would be great." 

He outlines how the penalties can be quite stiff. 

"A ticket for not moving over and slowing down is $298, but you also get two points off your license. If you're traveling on a roadway that is greater than 80 kilometres an hour, you must slow down to 60 kilometres an hour when passing emergency vehicles with their lights activated. I must clarify that the lights have to be activated. And if you're in a speed limit zone of under 80 kilometres an hour, the speed limit is 40 kilometres that you have to slow down to."

These tickets are given for this summary offense category, but anything that's a summary offense can be raised up to $2000, depending on the situation. 

"Just keep a lookout for our friends out there; our ambulance, fire, and tow truck drivers. They're doing their job as well as we are, and everybody wants to get home safe at the end of the day." 

Neufeld adds RCMP officers have been struck by drivers who are violating this law. 

"We've had a member get hit here in Portage before, as well. He was closing one of the gates. His emergency lights activated on the east bypass, and a semi hit him in his vehicle. It happens and we want people to be aware of their surroundings when traveling." 

Despite the fact that emergency lights that aren't flashing are giving you an indication that you do not have to slow down, it is still law to move over to the next lane when passing.

"Give them room to travel back onto the roadway, and that goes for any vehicle parked on the side of the road. If there's an open lane, please move over if somebody's changing a tire or anything else like that."