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Police urge motorists to pull over for emergency vehicles


TRURO, N.S. – Police are urging motorists to slow down and pull over for emergency vehicles after the death of RCMP Const. Francis Deschênes in New Brunswick last week.

RCMP Cpl. Dal Hutchinson warned that a ticket and fines await anyone who breaks the law, which requires drivers to slow down to 60 km per hour or the posted speed limit if less, when passing a stopped emergency vehicle with its lights flashing.

Drivers using a lane next to a stopped emergency vehicle must move into another lane if one is available and it is safe to do so.

“Every time you’re at a traffic stop you risk your own safety,” said Hutchinson.

He recalled roadside stops where his vehicle vibrated as others passed by too closely and has even been clipped by motorists ignoring the law, which Nova Scotia passed in 2010.

“People fail to move over for emergency vehicles,” said Hutchinson.

He also urged drivers to practise safe driving at all times.

Hutchinson said that road fatalities are usually caused by at least one of the following reasons: driving while impaired, not wearing a seatbelt, speeding and distracted driving, such as using a cellphone.

Hutchinson recalled one incident on Hwy 118 when he spotted a woman constantly looking down at her phone in bumper-to-bumper traffic, nearly causing an accident.

She dodged a ticket that day, as Hutchinson was off-duty driving his personal vehicle, but he has a simple message for anyone who uses a phone while driving.

“You can’t see the road in front of you if you’re staring at the crotch of your pants,” said Hutchinson.

Impaired driving also continues to be an issue across the country despite years of enforcement and education.

He recalled a previous posting in Saskatchewan, where a drive to Saskatoon revealed a highway littered with beer cans and bottles tossed out of vehicles by drinking motorists.

Impaired driving is also a major issue in Atlantic Canada, with a steady stream of motorists facing criminal charges for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Such behaviour can easily lead to the death or injury of impaired drivers, their passengers and anyone unfortunate enough to be on the road near them.

“No matter what education is being done, people still continue to make these choices,” said Hutchinson.

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