See Why This Video Makes Us Worried for Roadside Workers

Disappointed… and worried.

That basically sums up how we felt when our Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) officers reported how often drivers break the Slow Down Move Over law during roadside traffic stops on BC highways.

Just how often are drivers speeding and/or failing to move into the far lane while passing vulnerable officers on the side of the highway? Well, according to CVSE, it seems like all the time.

We had to find out exactly what was happening. So, we set up video cameras and monitored passing traffic speeds via radar while a CVSE officer patrolled a section of highway.

The results left us stunned. See for yourself:

Let’s review the law:

When passing stopped vehicles with flashing lights (red, blue, or amber) drivers must slow their speed to 70km/h when in an 80km/h or over zone, and 40km/h when in an under 80km/h zone. If travelling on a multi-lane road, the driver must move into the far lane, when safe to do so.

Is it that drivers don’t understand it? Or they just don’t think it’s important? Or aren’t aware of it? Hard to say. What’s for certain is a wide range of roadside workers rely on this law for protection – not just CVSE officers.

·         Police ·         Park Rangers
·         Firefighters ·         Conservation Officers
·         Paramedics ·         Utility Workers
·         Tow Truck Operators ·         Land Surveyors
·         Highway Maintenance Workers ·         Animal Control Workers
·         Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement ·         Garbage Collectors

Please help these people safely do their jobs by slowing down and moving over. And also, please slow down and follow directions from traffic controllers in construction areas and other cone zones.

Have any thoughts on the issue? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Page 1 of 25 comments on “See Why This Video Makes Us Worried for Roadside Workers”

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  1. I have worked in a number of the identified occupations and the non-compliance is a concern for the safety of these workers.

    I do have to say that the non compliance with speed limits as a whole is shocking in BC.

  2. They can make as many laws as they want, until laws are enforced, the public doesn’t listen. Even if they did get pulled over, the fine is embarrassing, it literally costs more to fit the gas tank of a Honda Civic than it does to pay the fine.

    Look at Ontario’s law, first offence is $1000, and it increases to $2000 for your second offence and up to 6 months in jail! Enforcement? Oh ya! They have written over 10,000 tickets – that is how you get results.

    Can anyone find out how many tickets BC RCMP have written? I bet the cost of a ticket, that they haven’t written 1000 since the law was made.. If it were me, I would make anyone who is found guilty, of failure to slow down and move over, spend a weekend with a tow truck driver, a pot-hole crew or other similar work crew. You get a real appreciation for the speed people travel past you after being in their boots.

    Obviously the faster you travel, the harder it is to stop should a worker trip and fall into your path, or a piece of equipment accidently enters your path, but also as you pass by crews, you kick up rocks and debris. I was hit in the cheek by a pebble from the tire of a passing truck – it felt as if I was shot!

    On Monday, as I was providing traffic control/lane closure for the recovery of a vehicle, my truck was hit by a semi. The driver could see us working for 2 kms, it was a clear day, and he had already driven past my Right Lane Closed signs. I doubt he even gets a ticket for it. My truck was covered in lights and I had a flashing left arrow; no excuse.

  3. At least they’re not driving partly over the fog line which would be akin to what I see ALL the time with vehicles driving partly in the unprotected bike lanes. How about enforcing the law with respect to vehicles driving in bike lanes? It is just as deadly, if not more so, as people not slowing down and moving over in these situations on the hwy.

    • Hi Jo Blo – thanks for your comment. Unfortunately, we are not an enforcement authority and this ask would be best sent to the BC RCMP or local authority having jurisdiction. Safe travels!

    • Good morning Sherry-ann,

      The far lane is the lane not immediately beside the roadside vehicle pulled over. Hope that this helps clarify. Safe travels.

  4. How about moving enforcement back to the first indications of an upcoming cone zone? This is where the action is happening! As the attentive drivers start to slow, a nasty few (often with Alberta plates) see this as their opportunity to accelerate ahead of the pack.

    On the Coquihalla, the RCMP are sitting at the slowest part tagging the hapless for a mere 20 km/h over when they could be generating a windfall in excessive speeding further back. This would be more in the spirit of the law too.

    • HI Brendan,

      Thanks for sharing your observation and suggestion! We will share your comment forward but because we are responsible for the legislation and the BC RCMP is responsible for the enforcement of the legislation, we encourage you to share your feedback with them also.

  5. Just this morning on 99 northbound in Surrey…

    Police stopped with a car on the right side shoulder all lit up for safety, I move over into the left lane and drop from 100 to 70. Get honked at and the rear of my truck ridden close by other traffic. People just don’t give a crap about slowing down for police, fire, ambulance, whatever. C’mon lawmakers…let’s get the stings going and make this happen!

    I know the officer probably was happy knowing a 4,700Lb truck slowed down some traffic while he was out of his vehicle.

  6. Yes it’s dangerous to the workers… but I know from experience ther sometimes there is very little warning as site lines could be poor and when travelling at speed of 110 in heavy traffic (if anyone goes that slow on the freeway) to put on your brakes and or move over would be more dangerous rather than just taking your foot off the gas,.. impossible to enforce. Bring back photo radar.

  7. It may have made more of an impact if the emergency signals were shown in the video. As it is very little appears, and so, it is difficult to be sure the Slow Down Move Over law applies. Most of the public advertising has referred to emergency vehicles – four of the 12 groups. And finally, on a busy road drivers need ample notice in order to change lanes and slow down. Trucks can block sight lines.

  8. All that needs to be done is utilize the police, set them up a km away with stop vehicles, and commence to writing…. At the same time ….Set another “trap” four or five kms down the road and repeat the process…. dollars to donuts you get most of the same bunch..
    After a second offence in such a short time, then a letter from the registrar suspending their driving privelidges is in order, and require them to go thru the complete requalificaton process, including a drivers test..
    I drive transport and have done so for 40 years, and these idiots are only getting worse.. make fine start at 300.00 6 demerits (first) ….. 500 (2nd time), and 12 demerits ….and….. a 3 day schooling in recognizing that they aren’t the only ones on the road… (I think it’s called respect).


    • Hi Arnie,

      Thanks for your comments about enforcement and penalties for the Slow Down Move Over law.

      I will share them with my contact on the Work Zone Safety Alliance.

      Safe journey!

  9. Hello, I work on the roadways in Ontario, some of the heaviest traffic flows in the world. Day after day I work just feet from full speed traffic. Here is some facts from my experience, in the summer of 2016 I counted { could be more but this was all I counted] 17 opp cruisers pass me while I work less than a meter from 80/100 kph traffic. Of the 17 only 3 made any attempt to slow down or move over. Another interested fact, everyone who works construction on our highways knows that it is a very dangerous situation, yet the police knowing how dangerous it will not do anything to protect the workers who work there unless they are paid extra. Interesting how as a tax payer I pay the police to protect me yet when I am truly in need of their protection they refuse to do their jobs unless they are bribed. If you want to keep persons who work on the roads ways safe you must make sure the police take it seriously or no one else will

      • I also worked road construction in Ontario for years as a flag person (more Northwestern Ontario). When the majority of OPP don’t slow down for construction zones the general public don’t think they have to either.

        Also I’ve noticed that in all the provinces from Ontario to B.C., when there is short term construction happening most aren’t posting their signs far enough back and giving enough notice to motorists. I’ve came across a few who were literally 10 feet from the flagger sign. Makes it really hard to slow down or stop especially if you have a big truck behind you.

        Another issue with slowing down and pulling into the other lanes is traffic sometimes blocks you in and is driving to close for a person to safely slow down or merge into the other lane safely.

        I’m not taking shots at truck drivers here because there are tons of great ones. However in recent years there are also more and more bad ones.
        I don’t know how many times in the last 7 months that I’ve had a big truck riding my ass. They were so close that If I had to brake I would have ended up on their grill. (Mostly between Golden and Revelstoke in B.C., highway 1 in Alberta and highway 11 and 17 in Ontario). They don’t slow down in construction zones and when they’re riding your ass it makes it hard for me to slow down safely.

        • Hello Monique and thanks for connecting with us here. We will share your feedback on advance warning signage for cone zones with our staff and appreciate your insights around commercial vehicle safety as well. Safe travels!

          • While it seems like a good idea to have them far back, most drivers seem to have a 3 second memory. If you have a construction sign, an 80 ahead sign, an 80 sign followed by two lane closure signs and then a taper, they have already forgotten about the 80 sign and are likely doing 120 already.

            Read the studies, watch the results, two of the best ways to slow down traffic are: portable temporary rumble strips and red and blue lights.

            While people wont slow down for the sake of the workers, they will slow down then they fear that their vehicle could be damaged by a rumble strip. Why do I think this? I did a test where I set up a single rumble strip after my construction zone. My construction zone was reduced to 30, yet the average speed was over 45. The average speed at the rumble strip, was less than 30. Its human nature, it seems, drivers only care about themselves. Its a sad truth.

            Between Vernon and Kelowna I came across a guy who had gotten a flat, and with little to no shoulder on that stretch, he got over as far as he could but 1/4 of his car and all of his body were in the live lane as he changed the flat tire, around a blind corner from upstream traffic. I had just purchased a new light from an American tow website. I placed it right at the corner, and it strobes red and blue. People came around that corner a lot nicer than usual, and a few even left the curb lane because it was closer to the light.

            At highway speed, traffic coming around that corner would have only had a second or two to move to the fast lane. Then as CVSE officer drove by, got my business name off the side of my truck and pulled over to call me. While he could have turned around and blocked for us, around the corner, and made a huge impact to the risks we faced, he instead pulled past us and, over the phone, told me I couldn’t use that light and that red and blue is reserved for law enforcement. He said he understands why, in that case, I was using it and that I could here – for this case, but never again. I asked which law forbids me from using red and blue, he stated the MVA.

            MVA section that references flashing lights starts off like this:
            “Flashing lamps
            4.28 (1)A vehicle on a highway may only be equipped with lamps that are capable of displaying flashes of light if”

            So this was not on a vehicle. This was a self contained light, independant and separate from any vehicle, set on the road 200 feet upstream from where we were stopped. I am not breaking any law and if it saves people’s lives who are working on the side of the road, then let it be or write a law forbidding it. It worked, and it wasn’t an attempt to pretend to be someone we aren’t, it was a useful exploitation of people’s reaction when they come across red and blue light; suddenly, and briefly, they behave.

            Slow Down, Move Over and leave that silly phone alone.

          • Hi Troy, Thanks for sharing your knowledge about rumble strips, and experience using a red and blue flashing light to protect a vehicle (and driver) with a flat tire. I will share your comments with our traffic engineering people.