Slow Down Move Over; it's not just the law, it could save a life

AMA also recommending a change to Alberta’s law, applying it to all lanes of traffic

As Albertans prepare to hit the road for the last long weekend of the summer season, AMA is reminding motorists to slow down and move over for people working at the roadside.

Slow down move over legislation exists to protect workers and motorists at the roadside by requiring drivers to reduce their speed and, if safe to do so, move over when encountering a stopped emergency vehicle on the roadway. Yet, according to a recent CAA survey, only 49% of respondents were aware that tow trucks are included in the law, representing a significant safety concern for tow operators—AMA alone responded to 450,000 rescues last year.

“Unfortunately, the message to slow down and move over is not getting across. Sadly, this has real consequences—year after year, we see serious collisions involving tow truck drivers helping stranded motorists on the side of the road,” said Jeff Kasbrick, vice president of stakeholder and government relations at AMA. “The few extra seconds you take on your drive to slow down and move over can help save a life.”

According to the RCMP, the problem is only getting worse. In 2016, more tickets were issued to motorists speeding past emergency vehicles than in 2015. “In 2016, the RCMP and the Alberta Sheriffs handed out 744 tickets for speeding past emergency vehicles, up from 662 tickets in 2015,” said Inspector Steve Daley, Officer in Charge, Alberta Traffic Services. “We all have a responsibility when it comes to road safety and slowing down when passing in the lane next to an emergency vehicle is one way you can help.”

AMA is also calling for changes to Alberta’s slow down move over legislation, which currently only applies to the adjacent lane of traffic—a move supported by 62% of AMA members. To make it easier for motorists to understand their responsibility, AMA supports changing Alberta’s law to apply to all lanes of traffic travelling in the same direction. Simplifying the law will also bring it in line with all other Canadian jurisdictions with slow down, move over laws.

“If we can simplify the law by having all lanes of traffic slow down and move over, we can reduce confusion and give emergency workers a safe working environment. Consistently, we see that when one car obeys the law, other cars around it follow suit,” Kasbrick added.

For further information, please contact:

AMA Newsroom1-888-960-NEWS (6397) ama.newsroom@ama.ab.ca 


The Alberta Motor Association (AMA) is among the largest membership organizations in Alberta, representing more than 975,000 members. As a leading advocate for traffic safety, travel and consumer protection and crime prevention, AMA represents the interests of its members to industry and all levels of government and helps protect the things they care about most. Visit ama.ab.ca to learn more about AMA’s products, services and member advocacy efforts.