Legislation extends protection to all roadside workers

NANAIMO – Drivers required to slow down and move into far lane when passing vehicles with flashing yellow, blue or red lights.

An amendment to existing legislation protecting police and other emergency service personnel now extends the same protections to all roadside workers.

The legislation took affect Jan. 1, which means the Motor Vehicle Act now requires drivers to slow down and pull over into the far lane, if available, when passing official vehicles with flashing yellow, blue or red lights.

Where the speed limit is 80 km/h or faster, drivers must also slow down to 70 km/h or down to 40 km/h where the speed limit is less than 80 km/h.

“This is just a new amendment to it,” said Cpl. Norm Smith, head of Nanaimo RCMP traffic services.

“Originally it was just police, fire, ambulance and tow trucks. Now it’s basically anybody that is technically working on the side of the road, so the B.C. Hydro guys and stuff like that, they’re all covered now. Roadside maintenance, anything like that, has to be cared for.”

Smith said in some instances police have used their patrol cars to block the slow lane to protect themselves and the people they’ve pulled over to force drivers to move over and slow down, but said he did not expect Nanaimo RCMP to do a  roadside campaign with warnings and ticketing unless there proved to be confusion among the public about the new ruling.

The penalty for failing to slow down and move over for emergency or maintenance vehicles and personnel is $173 and three demerit points on licenses.

“Any time you see somebody working on the side of the road with a flashing light, slow down, pull over,” Smith said.

For more information, please visit the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure website at www.gov.bc.ca/tran/.

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