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Move Over Law Ontario – Fight Your Ticket and Protect Your Rights

Ontario’s Move Over Law, governed by Section 159 of the Highway Traffic Act, is designed to protect the safety of emergency responders and tow truck operators on the road. This law in Ontario outlines specific actions drivers must take when they pass or approach emergency vehicles, tow trucks or highway maintenance vehicles in various situations. Drivers who do not follow these laws may be issued tickets and face legal penalties.

If you have been issued a ticket for failing to move over for an emergency vehicle, contact OTD Legal today for a free consultation.

Approach and Stop for Emergency Vehicles

When Ontario drivers encounter a police car, ambulance, fire vehicle, or public utility emergency vehicle approaching with flashing lights (red, blue, or red and blue lights) and/or sounding sirens, they are required by law to immediately stop their vehicle. The appropriate action depends on the type of road:

  • On Standard Roads: Pull over as close as possible to the right-hand curb or road edge, ensuring the vehicle is parallel to the road and clear of intersections.
  • On One-Way Multi-Lane Roads: Move as close as practicable to the nearest curb or edge of the roadway, maintaining a parallel alignment and avoiding intersections.

Conduct Around Stopped Emergency or Tow Vehicles

Drivers are required to slow down and proceed cautiously when passing a stopped emergency vehicle or tow truck with flashing red, red and blue, or amber lights. This law applies to vehicles traveling on the same side of the highway.

Lane Change Requirement

On highways with two or more lanes, drivers in the same lane or the adjacent lane to the stopped emergency vehicle or tow truck must, in addition to slowing down, safely move over to another lane if possible.

Legal Consequences for Non-Compliance

Failing to comply with these rules as you are being approached by a police car, fire truck, tow truck or ambulance responding to an emergency constitutes an offence. Penalties are as follows:

  • First Offence: Fine between $400 and $2,000.
  • Subsequent Offences: Fines range from $1,000 to $4,000, potential imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

License Suspension

The court may also suspend the driver’s license for up to two years upon conviction.

Demerit Points

Non-compliance results in three demerit points for a first offence, which will be reflected on your driver’s record and visible to your insurance.

Subsequent Offences

For subsequent offences, the fines increase, and you could also go to jail for up to six months.

*Note: Penalties are also applicable to a tow truck with flashing amber lights that is stopped on a highway. This information can be found in Section 159 of the Highway Traffic Act (HTA).

Time Limit for Subsequent Offence

An offence committed more than five years after a previous conviction is not considered a subsequent offence for harsher penalties.

How to Move Over for Emergency Vehicles

When an emergency vehicle is approaching your vehicle from any direction with its lights flashing and/or siren or bell sounding, you are required to bring your vehicle to an immediate stop on the right side of the road. Emergency vehicles, as mentioned above, include marked and unmarked police cars, tow trucks, fire trucks, ambulances, Ministry of Transportation vehicles, and volunteer medical responders using their own vehicles.

When stopping, you are required to bring your vehicle as close as is practical to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway. When on a one-way road or divided highway having more than two lanes of traffic, move to the closest curb or edge of the roadway. Your vehicle should be parallel to the roadway and clear of any intersections, including highway on/off ramps. Do not move onto or stop on the shoulder of the roadway, as emergency workers may be travelling along it.

Be Cautious

Exercise caution when stopping your vehicle because other drivers may not yet be aware of the approaching emergency vehicle and the emergency vehicle will likely be travelling over the posted speed limit. Look to the front, both sides, and toward the rear of your vehicle, signal your intention to pull over well in advance, and begin to adjust your vehicle’s speed to merge with any traffic to the side you are pulling to.

Once you have moved your vehicle to the side, brake gradually as required and bring your vehicle to a safe stop. Avoid any sudden changes in direction or excessive braking, and be aware of any vehicles approaching fast to the rear of your vehicle.

In an Intersection

If you are in an intersection and preparing to make a turn when an emergency vehicle is approaching, you should abandon the turn and clear the intersection by proceeding straight when safe to do so, then pull to the right and stop. This will clear the intersection and minimize the possibility of a collision with the emergency vehicle, should it be passing you on the side you intended to turn toward. When the emergency vehicle has passed, check to make sure the way is clear and signal before merging back into traffic. Remain vigilant for additional emergency vehicles.

Note: Some firefighters and volunteer medical responders may display a flashing green light when using their own vehicles to respond to a fire or medical emergency. Please yield the right-of-way to help them respond to an emergency call quickly and safely.

What Should I Do if I Am Charged With Failing To Stop for an Emergency Vehicle?

Seek out legal aid as soon as you can. Being unaware of the law or the court process can put you at risk of making mistakes that lead to a conviction and penalties that will impact your license and insurance rate. Obtaining legal representation puts a licensed, knowledgeable, and experienced legal professional in the courtroom on your behalf to reduce or eliminate the consequences of a possible conviction.

Move Over Law FAQs

What Should Drivers Do When Passing Stopped Emergency or Tow Vehicles?

When passing a stopped emergency vehicle or tow truck with flashing lights, drivers are required to slow down and proceed cautiously. This is particularly important if traveling on the same side of the highway as the stopped vehicle.

What Are the Consequences of Not Complying with the Move Over Law in Ontario?

Failing to comply with the Move Over Law can result in significant penalties. These include fines ranging from $400 to $4,000, possible imprisonment for up to six months, and a license suspension for up to two years, depending on the number of offences.

How Many Demerit Points Are Given for Non-Compliance with the Move Over Law?

Non-compliance with the Move Over Law results in three demerit points for a first offence. These points will be reflected on the driver’s record and can impact insurance rates.

What Actions Should Be Taken If I Am Charged with Failing to Comply with the Move Over Law?

promptly. Unfamiliarity with the law or court process can result in costly mistakes. Legal representation can help minimize or eliminate the potential consequences of a conviction.


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Move Over Law Videos

What Is The Mover Over Law In Ontario?

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Have You Been Charged With Failing To Pull Over For An Emergency Vehicle In Ontario?

If you’ve been charged with failing to pull over for an emergency vehicle in Ontario under the Highway Traffic Act Section 159 you should contact us as soon as possible. We have skill and experience in helping drivers just like you who have been accused of failing to pull over for an emergency vehicle. We provide free, confidential consultations. We help drivers throughout Ontario including Kitchener,  GeorgetownLondonWindsor and from our home office in CambridgeContact us online, call us directly at 1-844-647-6869, or text a copy of your ticket to 226-240-2480.

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