Since 1989, five members of the OPPA have been killed in roadside accidents. After the death of Sergeant Margaret Eve, who was killed on the side of Highway 401 on June 9, 2000, the OPPA lobbied the Provincial Government to pass legislation that would help keep its members safe while serving the people of Ontario. Despite more than 10 years of education, more than 11,000 tickets being issued by the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) and two hundred and fifty additional reminder signs being placed by the Ministry of Transportation at the request of the OPPA, many motorists are still unaware of the “Move Over” law or the fact that it has been on the books since 2003.
Last winter was particularly grim for motorists and first responders on highways across Ontario. Dozens of OPP cruisers attending accident scenes with their emergency lights activated were damaged or destroyed after being struck by passing motorists. During a particularly bad storm in February, nine cruisers were struck in a ten hour period. Injuries to OPPA members ranged from minor to very serious, and in one case, members of the public were in an OPP vehicle when it was struck at the side of the highway.
The costs in equipment, and more importantly the human costs to OPPA members who are injured, are simply unacceptable.
The OPPA, in co-operation with the OPP, has produced two thirty-second Public Service Announcements which will begin airing across Ontario today. These announcements show the human costs of failing to slow down and move over for stopped emergency vehicles. One focuses on Colleen Eve and her experience of losing her mother, Sergeant Margaret Eve, at a young age. The other features the firsthand account of Provincial Constable Dave Sparrock, who was nearly killed in 2012 when his cruiser was struck on the side of the highway.
A three minute version of the Public Service Announcement, along with the newly released thirty second versions, are also available on YouTube at the following link:
https://www.youtube.com/user/OntProvPoliceAssoc
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