Failing to Yield to Emergency Vehicles

Year: 2016


Whereas based on observations of violations, it is clear there is disregard for the law related to safety of emergency vehicles on Saskatchewan roadways; and

Whereas The Traffic Safety Act requires all motorists to yield or pull to the right and stop for an emergency vehicle using an emergency device and or emergency lights; and

Whereas there is a need to increase public education regarding giving right of way to emergency vehicles; and

Whereas an increase in the minimum penalties for any violations of this law is necessary; and

Whereas enhanced enforcement of this law is paramount;

Therefore be it resolved that the SUMA advocate with the Government of Saskatchewan to enhance public education to increase awareness of the need to respect the law requiring motorists to yield or give right of way to all emergency vehicles using an emergency device or emergency lights on public roadways, and that the minimum penalties for violations be increased.

Background information
When emergency vehicles have their lights activated, response time is critical and lives are often at risk. Educating the public on the importance of yielding and providing right-of-way to emergency vehicles when their lights are activated would increase the level of compliance with this law. Additionally, increasing the current fine amount for drivers who are in violation would be an effective deterrent and would better reflect the importance of obeying the regulation.

Provincial Response

SGI regularly shares tips and reminders about yielding to emergency vehicles via social media (Facebook, Twitter) and is currently looking to increase this type of promotion in order to enhance public awareness. As well, SGI's Traffic Safety Promotion teams are invited to workplace safety meetings often to talk about traffic-related work injury prevention. Recent focus of these discussions has been on what to do when being approached by an emergency vehicle. SGI's teams have two presentations on this topic coming up. Also, information on how drivers should react around emergency vehicles is included in the Saskatchewan Driver's Handbook and covered off in the comprehensive driver training curriculum for new drivers. 

As you may know, a driver currently receives a $125 fine and loses four points on their safety rating under the Safe Driver Recognition program if they are guilty of failing to yield to an emergency vehicle. At this time there are no intentions of increasing the fine amount for failing to yield to emergency vehicles. 

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