Room to Work

Cop Corner with S/Sgt Luis Gandolfi

Issue No. 27

Several years ago the Government of Alberta enacted Bill 39 which dealt with several pieces of legislation including the passing of emergency vehicles and tow trucks while their emergency lights are activated.  This came about due to some very sad and tragic events where personnel were injured or killed while simply doing their jobs on area highways.  I can tell you first hand that pulling over a vehicle on a busy highway is anything but stress free.  Not only are you concerned about the condition of the driver, who they are, motivations, etc., but there’s also a great deal of worry about getting hit by a speeding motorist. So, let’s examine what the law really says.

For the purposes of this legislation, emergency vehicles are defined as vehicles being operated on duty and belonging to EMS, Fire, Police, Tow Agencies, gas disconnection vehicles being used by a public utility, and designated emergency response units.
You must slow to 60 km/h when passing one of these vehicles stopped with their emergency lights activated.  Notice I didn’t say meeting a vehicle from the front?  That’s one of the common questions we get asked is, “Do you have to slow down when you’re meeting a police vehicle from the front?”  Unfortunately the answer to that is no you don’t, rather you must be passing the emergency vehicle in question from the rear.
What about multiple lane highways?  In cases where you have a two lane highway, only those vehicles operating in the lane immediately next to the emergency vehicle need slow to 60 km/h.  Realistically, I would hope that we’d all want to slow to 60, regardless of whether you’re coming, going, inside, outside, upside down, backwards, forwards, or any combinations therein.  Makes sense to not even think about it and just slow down doesn’t it?
In all cases the speed fines double if ticketed passing an emergency vehicle protected under this legislation.  So a fine of normally $200 automatically becomes $400 and so on.
Remember that we’ve got your back Bonnyville, please return the favour when you’re passing one of our members or any other emergency services personnel.  Stay Safe.