N.S. RCMP officer who was struck by vehicle renews call for roadside safety
A retired RCMP officer who was seriously injured after being struck by a vehicle 16 years ago, says he wants more to be done to make people aware of the Slow Down and Move Over law.
Paul Calder served as an RCMP officer for 36 years, with more than half of those being on highway patrol. Before leaving the force, he briefly worked with Const. Frank Deschenes, who was killed this week after stopping on the highway to help motorists change a tire.
“When something happens as what just happened with Frank Deschenes, it brings it back to you,” Calder says. “Someone shouldn't die to make people realize they got to change the way they're doing things.”
In 2001, Calder stopped on Highway 104 to help someone who had left the highway. The cruiser lights were flashing and visibility was clear. Calder was talking to the female driver in his cruiser when they were struck from behind by a shuttle van.
Calder was thrown from the vehicle on top of the woman, and was unconscious for 20 minutes.
“She thought I was dead,” says Calder. “She couldn't move me. I wasn't responding to her, so it was pretty hard, pretty traumatic for her at that point.”
Calder had a serious concussion, injured shoulder and a pinched nerve in his neck. The woman had a number of cuts and bruises.
The retired officer would like to see highway signs, similar to those he saw in Alberta last year, reminding motorists about the Slow Down and Move Over law.
“People will still choose to disobey a law. But if they don't know the law exists, then there's an onus on the people responsible for enforcing laws and creating laws, to make sure they're aware that the law is there,” Calder says.
An official with Nova Scotia’s Transportation Department says nothing is currently planned in regards to placing "move over" signs on provincial highways. He says they would be open to having discussions with their safety partners on ways to raise awareness of the issue.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Dan MacIntosh.