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BC's Slow Down Move Over Law

Emergency workers are very happy with BC's new slow down, move over law that came into effect June 1, 2009. When they are stopped at the side of the highway and displaying flashing lights, red, blue or yellow, approaching traffic is required to slow down and move over. This will provide a safe workspace for the emergency workers and hopefully also for those who are driving past.

The slow down half of the law requires overtaking motorists to slow to 70 km/h on highways posted at 80 km/h and higher and to 40 km/h in all other speed zones. My guess is that when this speed is enforced, very little, if any, wiggle room will be allowed. If you choose not to slow down to at least match the limit if not a bit less, you choose to risk a ticket.

The move over portion requires that if it is safe to do so, you will move into the unoccupied adjacent lanes. This could mean the adjacent lane in the same direction if there are multiple lanes, or the oncoming lane if there are not. Remember, if you have to use the oncoming lane, you have no lawful excuse to encroach on it when there is oncoming traffic.

Will the law increase safety? Only if drivers think and then act before they approach closely. Many times in the past I have watched vehicles overtake my stationary police car at or over the speed limit a foot from my door instead of slowing down and moving into the empty lane.