02/25/2013 10:24 EST | Updated 04/27/2013 05:12 EDT

Drivers urged to slow down for emergency workers

Police on Vancouver Island plan to crack down on drivers who don't obey the rules when it comes to emergency vehicles that are stopped on the road side.

When emergency vehicles — including fire, police, ambulance and tow trucks — flash their lights on the roadside, drivers must slow down to 70 km/h on the highway and 40 km/h on other roads.

Drivers are also required to move to the lane furthest from the curb.

Cpl. Ryan Bacica with the Capital Regional District's Integrated Road Safety Unit says police will start ticketing offenders in a campaign next month.

"I can tell you it's very unnerving to be standing at the side of the road dealing with someone on a traffic violation [and] having to worry about what's in that vehicle and worry about that person as well as the traffic that's coming screaming by you at sometimes at 80 to 100 kilometres an hour,” he said.

“The wind alone, sometimes the suction can suck you into the middle of the road and it's very, very unnerving.”

More than 400 emergency workers have been killed or injured on B.C. roads in the past decade, Bacica said.

“It's very frustrating sometimes when you see people come up beside you even though the other lane is clear, and they go right by you and almost take off your mirror,” he said. “It's just common sense."

Offenders face a $173 fine and three penalty points on their licenses.