CORRECTION: Move Over Law ignored by many motorists

Dave Mathieson
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Despite the fact the Move Over Law had been in effect for more than two years, motorists continue to put lives in danger by driving at full speed past emergency personnel like the ones above on Robert Angus Drive in Amherst.

CORRECTION: Your article in the ADN this morning is not correct.  You are quoting Const. Travise Dow as saying that: If the driver is able to move into the next lane, "then they can carry on (at the speed limit) as long as they move over," said Dow.

This information is not correct.  The driver must move over to the next lane AND slow down to 60 km/h.

 I think it is important that you clarify your facts and correct this article.  Motorists will be getting mixed messages when reading this.

What it actually says is:

On a road with two or more lanes in your direction, slow down to 60k/h or follow the speed limit if it's less and move over into a lane further away from the stopped vehicle if you can do so safely.


Andy Yarrow, chief of the Pugwash Fire Department 

(reporters note: The parenthesis, (at the speed limit), appeared in the original article to indicate that it was not the exact words of Dow but that the reporter concluded that this is what Dow meant during the telephone conversation.)


AMHERST - The simple act of writing a ticket can be one of the most dangerous situations a police officer will ever face.

"I had to go running for the ditch one day," said Const. Travise Dow, of the Cumberland District RCMP. "A truck was coming at full speed and the roads were icy, and he went to hit the breaks because he realized he was going too fast and wouldn't be able to move over safely, and his trailer started to jackknife.

"This happened near exit 7 on Highway 104 and, luckily, the vehicle that was passing him was able to pass him and he was able to adjust and get control of his vehicle.

"Thankfully there was no fatal collision on myself."

An RCMP officer wasn't so luck last Saturday morning.

He was sent to the hospital in Halifax with serious, non-life threatening injuries after a car hit him and sent him over an embankment on the Bedford overpass.

"I think icy roads were to blame for that one," said Dow. "I think it was situation where somebody needed to pay better attention to the road conditions."

The incident raised questions about whether or not people are complying with the Move-Over Law brought into effect May 1, 2010.

"I think compliance is increasing but, overall, it is still a problem on the highways," said Dow.

Under the legislation, vehicles are, by law, expected to slow down to 60 km/h when passing emergency personnel vehicles and other vehicles when they are attending to their jobs on the side of the road.

"The law is that if you are on a single lane highway, like Highway 6, and you're going 80 km/h, you should then slow down to 60 km/h," said Dow. "If you're on a double lane highway, like the Trans Canada Highway, if there's a second lane available, then motorists should move over to the furthest lane.

"If the lane is not available then they should reduce their speed accordingly to at least 60 km/h when they pass emergency vehicles."

If the driver is able to move into the next lane, "then they can carry on (at the speed limit) as long as they move over," said Dow.

Under the legislation, first-time offenders receive a $340 fine, but fines go as high as $2,410 for repeat offenders.

"When this first started our traffic enforcement team was out there quite a bit, and there was a grace period where people were given warnings," said Dow.

That grace period has ended and Dow says, "traffic service is dedicated to saving lives on the highway and I know there's been a number of tickets issued for failing to obey the move over law."

Dow said it's up to all drivers to take safety seriously.

"I think compliance is increasing in some areas, however, you only have to watch a traffic stop on the highway to notice how many people are still driving full speed past emergency service personnel, whether that be police, ambulance, fire, our partners with transportation infrastructure renewal, and any people with the Department of Transportation.

"Roads can still be a dangerous place and we need people to be responsible and keep our roads safe."







Organizations: RCMP, Trans Canada Highway, Department of Transportation

Geographic location: AMHERST, Halifax

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Recent comments

  • jr
    December 14, 2012 - 10:22

    I do agree with Road Rager to a point. I also want to say that it is not always that easy to slow a truck down fast enough especially if you are coming up over a hill or around some turns and come upon the scene without much notice. If it is a bad day weather wise, and the visibility is not the best then of course you "should" be driving for the conditions and going slower. Unfortunately there are as many or more dirvers in cars that are more often guilty than the truck drivers but these guys take up more road and cause much more wind blast than a car so they always get the blame no matter what. No matter what, I have always tried to move over even when there is a car pulled over as you never know what that vehicle will do. Normally they will wait to pull out but all too many times they just put it in gear and go without looking or considering the traffic on the road. I guess what I am trying to say is that there are far too many careless drivers on the road and it is time to get some of them under control whether is be a ticket or whatever.

  • road rager
    December 13, 2012 - 15:10

    If the truck driver hit the brakes so hard it caused a jack knife then they don't know how to safely brake, and were not paying attention to the road. What would be the alternative to writing tickets? Having the police ram them off the road, or allow them to continue their illegal and unsafe driving without consequence? There are too many dangerous drivers out there now even with the potential of getting a ticket.

  • Safety First
    December 13, 2012 - 08:49

    If "The simple act of writing a ticket can be one of the most dangerous situations a police officer will ever face" then the solution to this very dangerous situation would be - NO MORE TICKETS!!!

  • first last
    December 13, 2012 - 07:08

    another constantly ignored law is having lights on during the day, or even the night!

  • Rob
    December 13, 2012 - 02:13

    This move over law, though well intended, has produced it's own hazards for police. In the article it mentions the truck hit the brakes to slow down and started to jackknife. Would he have lost control if he didn't try and slow down? I have had a very close call with a car trying to change lanes because there was a police vehicle ahead. He nearly hit me. So does this law do more harm than its intended good?