Barrie, Ontario — December 17, 2014 — The Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA) has launched a campaign to raise awareness of the province’s Move Over Law.
The OPPA, in co-operation with the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), began airing two 30 second Public Service Announcements across Ontario on December 17 with the intent to educate the public on the human costs of failing to slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles.
“This is about keeping our hardworking officers safe on our highways this winter,” OPP Association President Jim Christie said in a release. “Slowing down and moving over for any stopped emergency vehicle is not an option in Ontario, it is the law.”
While more than 11,000 tickets have been issued by the OPP and 250 reminder signs have been placed by the Ministry of Transportation at the request of the OPPA, many motorists remain unaware of the almost decade-old legislation passed to protect emergency vehicles—such as police cruisers and ambulances—when pulled over with their lights flashing.
The OPPA has lost five of its members since 1989, and the death of Sergeant Margaret Eve—killed on the side of Highway 401 in June 2000—pushed the association to lobby the government to pass a law to protect its members. Sergeant Eve’s story is outlined in one of the Public Service Announcements. The other gives the firsthand account of Provincial Constable Dave Sparrock, who nearly suffered the same fatality in 2012.
With winter on the horizon, the OPPA is taking special concern, noting the dozens of OPP cruisers damaged or destroyed by motorists who didn’t abide by the law last season. Nine cruisers were struck in a 10 hour period alone during a February snowstorm, with members suffering minor to very serious injuries. During one collision, public members were inside an OPP vehicle when it was struck.
Towers in the province soon hope to count themselves among other emergency responders protected under the law.
As reported earlier this month, the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) has been pushing for Ontario to join the five provinces with the legislation already in place.
The provincial government has passed the amendment through first reading and the petition stage closed on December 12.
If passed, the amendment to the Highway 407 East Act, 2012, the Highway Traffic Act, and the Provincial Offences Act would read: “Slow down on approaching stopped emergency vehicle or tow truck.”
For more information on the OPPA, please visit OPPA.ca.
To view the Public Service Announcements, please visit: www.youtube.com/user/OntProvPoliceAssoc.