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RCMP reminds drivers of rules when being approached by emergency vehicles

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The RCMP would like to remind drivers of their requirements when approaching or being approached by an emergency vehicle with its lights and sirens engaged.

In the early morning of Feb. 12, a Queen's District RCMP officer was travelling along Route 1 in Mount Mellick, returning from a residential fire in Cherry Valley.

Cross Roads and Vernon River firefighters were still on scene battling the blaze, which required multiple fire trucks to travel between the fire scene and their fire halls to gather water in tanker trucks.

The RCMP officer was travelling along Route 1 near Buster's Service Station following five other vehicles when a fire truck could be seen approaching in the opposite direction with its red lights flashing. However, none of the motorists were pulling over to allow the vehicle to pass.

The RCMP officer engaged the police vehicle's emergency lights, causing four of the five cars to pull over to the side of the roadway and allow the fire truck to pass.

Once the fire truck was past, the RCMP officer caught up to the vehicle which did not pull over and conducted a roadside stop.

The officer asked why the driver had not pulled over for the clearly visible fire truck, and the driver replied they thought the fire truck had enough room to get by.

The driver was advised of their requirements when any emergency vehicle is approaching on an undivided roadway with their lights and sirens engaged, regardless of how much room is available.

The driver was provided with a summary offence ticket under Section 188 of the Highway Traffic Act, with a fine of $150. That section requires drivers being approached on an undivided roadway, from front or rear, by an ambulance, fire truck, emergency or police vehicle with flashing red lights and sirens to yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle by pulling over to the right as far as possible and stopping until the emergency vehicle has passed.

Upon approaching an emergency vehicle, or tow truck, that is stopped on the side of the road, Section 115.1 of the Highway Traffic Act requires drivers to reduce their speed to half of the speed limit, and if driving in the same direction move over to a second lane if the movement can be made safely.

These laws are in place to speed the work of emergency responders and may mean the difference of life or death. A few minutes might make a huge difference in the outcome of an emergency situation.

Drivers are reminded to slow down and stop to allow those who put themselves in harm’s way to assist those who require help.

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