The B.C. Liberal government is making a Motor Vehicle Act regulation change to simplify the Slow Down Move Over (SDMO) rule, making it safer for roadside workers.
Currently, the SDMO regulation requires drivers to reduce speed, and if on a multi-lane road, move over to another lane when passing stopped vehicles with a flashing light, which are considered “official vehicles.”
These vehicles include police, fire, ambulance, tow trucks, Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement, park rangers and conservation officers.
Stakeholders, including the BC Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association (BCRBHCA), had voiced concerns that the current regulation does not protect all roadside workers.
Maintenance workers are frequently required to stop on the side of the road for inspections or highway maintenance, it noted.
The BCRBHCA stated these workers are subject to an equal or higher risk than many of the workers covered under the current regulations.
The province’s new regulatory amendment will simplify the SDMO requirement, so it includes all vehicles displaying flashing red, blue or yellow lights.
This will make it easier for drivers to know the rules of the road, as they will no longer have to check to see if the flashing light is on an “official vehicle.”
The amendment will improve safety for all roadside workers, including highway maintenance workers, utility workers, land surveyors, animal control workers and garbage collectors, reducing the risk of them being struck by passing vehicles. The amendment will come into force on Jan. 1, 2015.
Drivers must slow their speed to 70 km/h when in an 80 km/h or over zone, and reduce to 40 km/h when in an under 80 km/h zone. If travelling on a multi-lane road, the driver must move into another lane to pass where safe to do so.
Failing to adjust your speed appropriately or failing to move over can result in a $173 ticket and three penalty points.