Legislating against stupidity? Move-over law needed, says MHA

A proposed law designed to protect emergency crews is making its way through Newfoundand and Labrador's house of assembly.

Bill would require drivers to cut speeds, move away from ambulances

Firefighters and other emergency responders are often at risk when vehicles refuse to cut their speeds or move over. (Mike Rossiter/CBC)

A proposed law designed to protect emergency crews is making its way through the Newfoundland and Labrador house of assembly.

The bill will require drivers, by law, to do things that common sense dictates they should do in the first place: cut their speed and move over when passing an ambulance or any other emergency vehicle that is stopped on a roadway. 

Those working in the industry say the law has been a long time coming.

St. John's Regional Fire Department Supt. Derek Chafe cited a recent close call as proof that carbon monoxide detectors can save lives. (CBC)

Supt. Derek Chafe of the St. John's Regional Fire Department said fire crews have experienced many close calls with drivers who ignore emergency scenes.

"They'll drive over sidewalks ... they'll drive through our scene over fire hoses," said Chafe. 

"Our staff are consistently looking over their shoulders."

Chafe hopes police will soon be able to charge and fine drivers.

We've got a lot of stupid drivers out there- NDP transportation critic George Murphy

"We just hope that if the police do have to lay charges — that the charges can stick and there can be an example made."

The fine will be from $300 to $900 — plus four demerit points. 

NDP MHA and Transportation Critic George Murphy. (CBC)

NDP transportation critic George Murphy has been pushing for the new law for two years.

"We've got a lot of stupid people out there ... we've got a lot of careless drivers out there," said Murphy.

"We're talking firefighters, police, ambulance, paramedics, of course, wildlife officials, if they're out there, highway enforcement." 

Bill 6 is now making its way through the house of assembly and sources say it could pass by the time the Christmas recess arrives. 


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