MEDICINE HAT, AB — It’s a dangerous job, working on the side of a highway.
Vehicles and semi-trailers whip by, faster than 100 km/h and tow truck drivers say more needs to be done to protect them while they work.
Our neighbours in Saskatchewan have found what could be a solution, adding a blue light to the flashing amber lights.
Kraig Kohls has been in the towing business for 24 years and said his drivers have had numerous close calls while working on the side of the road.
They wear bright jump suits and place pylons out behind the vehicle all while having their lights flashing, but he said that’s not enough.
The law in Alberta states that drivers must slow to 60 km/h when passing an emergency vehicle, but Kohls said that’s not happening.
He’s in support of adding blue lights to tow vehicles and said driver’s need to be courteous so that everyone can stay safe.
“If they’re slowing down for the RCMP, why are they not slowing down for the tow truck guys, we’re humans too,” he said. “We want to be safe out there and not get hurt. Likewise, we don’t want the public to get hurt as they’re motoring down the highway at breakneck speeds in really adverse conditions.”
Jeff Kasbrick with the Alberta Motor Association said blue and white lights are the most visible colours, especially when it comes to our Alberta winters.
He adds that the amber coloured lights are all around us. They’re on utility vehicles, road signs and different construction vehicles.
Kasbrick adds that AMA is already in talks with the province and different enforcement agencies.
An amendment would need to be made to the vehicle equipment regulation before changes could happen.
He said in the meantime, tow truck operators need to be treated like emergency vehicles, the same as any first responder.
“Not only are tow trucks responding to emergency circumstances, such as collisions, but they’re also requiring that individual to get outside from the vehicle and to perhaps be a little bit more vulnerable to their circumstances,” he said, over the phone from Edmonton.
AMA said every year 37,000 of their calls are considered to be high risk.
That’s one every 15 minutes that tow trucks are called out to.
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