For the safety of emergency responders, motorists need to proceed with extreme caution when passing an accident scene, officials with Manitoba Public Insurance and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities warned Tuesday.
Over a 10-year period from 2001-10, one emergency first responder has been killed, while more than 275 have been injured.
“It’s paramount for passing motorists to exercise caution when passing an accident scene,” said MaryAnn Kempe, MPI’s vice-president of community and corporate relations.
“Some passing motorists become very distracted and don’t focus on the task at hand — ensuring the safety of emergency responders.”
Recently, several emergency responders were injured after a vehicle crashed into a disabled semi-trailer unit.
According to the Highway Traffic Act, motorists travelling on a multiple-lane road must change lanes and reduce their speed when passing emergency vehicles. Failure to do some could result in a $292 ticket.
The Association of Manitoba Municipalities stresses road-side safety is a priority for not only firefighters, but police and other citizens.
“Municipalities have become increasingly concerned for the safety of firefighters while they are attending accident scenes,” AMM president Doug Dobrowolski said.
“These situations are stressful enough for our staff without being compromised by curious or distracted motorists. We sincerely encourage drivers to exercise extra caution when passing a crash scene for everyone’s safety.”
Some safety tips for motorists to remember:
• When you hear an emergency siren behind you, move your vehicle to the right-side of the road and stop. Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle passes you.
• Always yield the right of way to emergency vehicles.
• If you’re the first to arrive on a crash scene, park your vehicle in a safe area, ensuring it cannot be hit by passing vehicles. Immediately call 911 and be prepared to provide specific location details.
• When passing a crash scene, obey all traffic enforcement directions and detours.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition September 12, 2012