Death of RCMP officer sparks increased concerns for roadside safety
After a Nova Scotia RCMP officer was struck and killed by a vehicle while helping a motorist change a tire, fellow officers are reinforcing the importance of the Slow Down and Move Over law.
The legislation says motorists must take action when they see flashing lights by reducing their speed and moving into the passing lane. Gary Howard of CAA Maritimes says they are also making progress in efforts to get all three Maritime governments to include tow-truck drivers in that law too.
"It's exactly what it means,” says Howard. “If you see flashing lights coming towards you, get out of the way. If you see flashing lights on the side the road you have to slow down and move over as safely as you can."
Const. Francis Deschenes lost his life Tuesday in the crash near the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border. Sgt. Evan Scott of Kennebecasis Valley Regional Police says it resonates because every traffic cop on highway duty has experienced his or her share of near misses.
"The majority of vehicles do move over. Do they slow down? No,” says Scott. “There's still quite a few that don't slow down and don't even move over."
Scott says the move for increased roadside safety has gained new urgency following Const. Deschenes’ death.
"He made a choice to stop and help out a stranded motorist, doing what we do, every day of the week,” says Scott. “That could have been any one of us. It's just not right. This needs to change now."
Scott says traffic enforcement can be one of the more dangerous duties police officers have.
“The unpredictability of the vehicles and the drivers and, as the distractions,” says Scott.
Scott hopes a silver lining can be found from the incident, as it should act as an eye-opener for motorists who drive too fast.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Mike Cameron.