"Slow down and move over" - new rules to protect emergency roadside workers in effect June 1

    BURNABY, BC, May 29 /CNW/ - New rules of the road to protect emergency
roadside workers will come into effect on June 1, 2009 requiring drivers to
slow down and move over when passing stopped emergency vehicles that have
their lights flashing.
    The new law brings welcome relief to many emergency roadside providers,
including BCAA who has actively advocated for safety regulations on behalf of
its Road Assist personnel for a number of years.
    BCAA's advocacy efforts stemmed from the death of Vernon Towing employee,
Ernie Semkiw who was struck and killed by a passing van while assisting a
disabled vehicle on behalf of BCAA. His tow truck's amber lights were
activated at the time.
    "By slowing down and moving over, drivers will be able to safely pass and
respond to emergency activity at the roadside, and more importantly, save
lives," says BCAA's Road Assist Director, Ken Cousin.
    "We applaud government for listening and introducing these new measures,
in sync with similar regulations elsewhere in Canada and the U.S." Currently
five provinces and 40 U.S. states have similar requirements.
    The new law requires drivers to slow down to 70km/h on highways where the
speed limit is 80 km/h or higher, and to 40 km/h where the limit is below 80
km/h, when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle that has its lights
flashing. If there is another lane going in the same direction, drivers must
also move into that lane, if it is safe to do so.
    Until now, B.C. has only had laws for driving in construction zones; none
to protect emergency roadside personnel such as police, fire, ambulance and
towing vehicles.
    Those found in contravention of the new rules will face a fine and three
penalty points against their licence. The fine, including a 15 per cent
surcharge, is $148 if paid within 30 days or $175 thereafter.

    About BCAA

    BCAA is dedicated to meeting the needs of its members and customers
throughout B.C. and the Yukon, connecting them with a team of membership,
automotive, travel and insurance professionals. With over 793,000 members and
$130 million in revenues, BCAA is the largest organization of its kind in B.C.
and the fourth largest CAA-affiliated association in Canada. For the past
three years, BCAA was named one the 50 Best Employers in Canada by
international HR consultants Hewitt Associates and the Globe & Mail's Report
on Business magazine. To learn more about BCAA's products, services and member
advocacy, visit www.bcaa.com. For more information on the BCAA Traffic Safety
Foundation visit www.tsf-bcaa.com.

For further information:

For further information: or to request an interview, please contact:
Jennifer Timm, BCAA Media Relations Advisor, Tel: (604) 268-5342, Cell: (778)
228-8859, Email: jennifer.timm@bcaa.com

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British Columbia Automobile Association

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