Memramcook, New Brunswick — September 15, 2017 — Constable Francis Deschenes of Amherst RCMP was killed September 12, after having pulled over to help change a flat tire on the Trans-Canada Highway near Memracook, New Brunswick.
Investigations on the collision show that a utility van collided with Deschenes’ police car and the SUV. Deschenes died at the scene, and the two individuals in the SUV were taken to the hospital and later released.
His death has since sparked conversation about renewing calls for changes to the slow down and move over laws in the Maritimes.
“It’s tragic,” said Doug Short, Owner of Five Star Towing in Moncton. He commented that he worries every day that the same thing will happen to one of his drivers. Short has even taken steps himself to try and improve awareness of the law, placing decals on the back of his tricks that say, “It’s the law to move over.”
New Brunswick and Nova Scotia both have slow down and move over laws, which require drivers to slow down and move into the far lane when approaching emergency vehicles on the side of the highway. The law neglects tow trucks and service vehicles, however, which makes working much more unsafe for these drivers, who often find themselves on busy roadsides.
According to Global News, the Canadian Automobile Association has been pushing both New Brunswick and Nova Scotia to include tow trucks in the slow down, move over law.
Evan Scott of Kennebecasis Valley Regional Police said that he hopes a silver lining can be found from the incident, as it should act as an eye-opener for motorists who drive too quickly.