Q&A - Slow Down, Move Over Ticket

Q&A ImageI was caught by surprise, and although I realize ignorance of a law is no defence, I wonder how I might have known about this change in BC traffic law.  I had moved away from BC in 2001, not returning until 2012.  When I returned to BC in 2012, I was given a BC drivers licence again, but no info about any changes in traffic regulations which had happened while I was away.  Apparently in 2009 or so, MVA Regulation 47.01 and 47.02 were intorduced into law, and I fully understand the intent of these regs, and support them.  What I don't know is how I was supposed to know they existed.

My ticket experience is as follows:  Heading North on Hwy 1 leaving Victoria, BC, at 88 KPH iin a 90KPH zone, I rounded a bend in the road, and saw an unmarked police vehicle parked on the right edge of the road, with it's blue and red emergency lights flashing.  I saw that I had sufficient space in the left lane to change into that lane, and did so, but I did not slow down, as there was traffic in that lane, and I preferred not to get rear ended! 

The officer pulled me over and wrote on the ticket "Fail to Slow Down and Move Over for Emergency Vehicle"  MVA 47.02.  He said to me you did move over, but you also needed to slow down to 70. 

I now have looked up that regulation, and understand it, but I see on the ICBC website the offence for 47.02 reads "Fail to slow down or move over near stopped official vehicle", with a fine of $173.00 and 3 points. 

I truly feel unfairly dealt with, and am not sure what my defence might be, or what outcome I could hope for,  Any suggestions you might have are much appreciated.  I am disputing the ticket.


Tricky situation indeed.

The licenses are handed out on the premise that you are aware and will comply with all the regulations, laws, by-laws and whims.

As far as the actual situation:

You have moved over - that's a fact, both you and the officer know it.

As far as the slow down part - main question is - Did you say to the officer that you did NOT slow down, or did you say what speed you WERE going?

If none of the above happened, then all that is truly known is that you noticed the situation, deemed that is safer to move over and after assessing the traffic behind you, you slowed down below the speed-limit, but still with sufficient care to not get rear-ended - it is a highway after-all.

The officer's signature/badge number - and the absence of your signature have little consequence, what matters is that the place, the time and your vehicle's and yours identification (name, dl#) are all proper.

You should dispute this ticket - as from your story it appears that the officer was just parked on the shoulder and their previous "victim" was already gone. The intent of the law is to protect the Police in their execution of duties on the road-side, not to provide the Police departments with another "gotcha" scenario.



The Slow Down, Move Over law was enacted in Nova Scotia (where this person was moving from) on May 1, 2010, no doubt with the same fanfare in the news that it was here. It is possible that you missed it all, but you are not coming to a new situation here in BC either.

Yes, the signature is legal. One can still sign legal documents with an X if one is illiterate and has a witness.

The officer is not required to present the ticket to you for signature. If they choose, handing it to you and doing the certificate of service on the back of the original copy is sufficient. With new electronic tickets, no signature or certificate of service is required.

When an official vehicle is stopped

47.02  (1) Subject to subsection (2), if an official vehicle with illuminated flashing red or blue lamps or lights, or both, or flashing amber lamps or lights is stopped on or on the side of a highway, a person driving a motor vehicle on the highway in either direction must drive the motor vehicle at the following rate of speed when approaching or passing the official vehicle:

(a) 70 km/h if signs on the highway limit the rate of speed to 80 km/h or more;

(b) 40 km/h if signs on the highway limit the rate of speed to less than 80 km/h.

(2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a driver who approaches or passes an official vehicle from the opposite direction on a highway that contains a laned roadway or is divided by a median.

(3) In addition to the requirements of subsection (1), a driver travelling in a lane adjacent to the stopped official vehicle or in the same lane in which the official vehicle is stopped must, if it is safe to do so, and unless otherwise directed by a peace officer, move his or her motor vehicle into another lane of the laned roadway, if any.

As you can see by reading the law, the slow down part is mandatory and the move over part is optional when it is unsafe to do so.

You do have the defence of necessity which you are alluding to by saying that it was not safe to slow down. You will have significant difficulty making use of this defence because you must convince the JJP that you were in mortal peril and not slowing down was the only option. Simply saying "I didn't think it was safe to slow down" isn't going to be nearly enough.

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