Since 1989, 6 Ontario Province Police officers have been killed while assisting drivers on the side of the road. Several weeks ago, a stopped motorist died the same way. In an effort to prevent these tragic and ultimately avoidable accidents, the OPP has sparked an initiative intended to save lives.
Emergency Workers Have to Do Their Jobs
After a collision or emergency medical situation on the road, first responders are typically quick to arrive on the scene and get to work. It is not uncommon to observe an ambulance or police car on the shoulder the highway as you drive by.
What’s important to consider is how vulnerable the people who drive these vehicles are, especially as they find themselves contending with issues like excessive speed, distracted drivers, and impaired driving situations.
Ordinary citizens are at risk too. Consider a scenario where a driver stops or pulls over to deal with a flat tire or after a fender bender. Even if they remain in their vehicle, they risk falling victim to another motorist who isn’t paying attention.
A momentary lapse of focus can have devastating consequences, something that the OPP see far too often.
By spearheading the public awareness initiative to raise awareness, the OPP’s goal isn’t to hand out tickets. According to OPP superintendent Tony Cristilli, getting drivers to recognize how critical it is to pay attention at all times and to accommodate stopped vehicles is a key part of preventing tragedies.
In Ontario, motorists must make an effort to slow down and move over, provided that it is safe to do so. Failure to obey these rules may result in fines, demerit points, and driver’s license suspension.
In order to facilitate the safe passage of emergency vehicles, drivers are reminded to stay alert, regularly check their car’s mirrors, and to keep the volume in their vehicle low enough to be able to hear approaching sirens.