TORONTO, May 14, 2019 – CAA South Central Ontario in collaboration with CAA clubs from across Canada, today launched Canada’s inaugural National Slow Down Move Over day.
The initiative is part of a broader national education campaign to remind motorists to be mindful and cautious around tow truck operators assisting others on the roadside.
Tow truck operator Andrew McDonald knows the dangers of working on Ontario’s highways all too well. Four years ago, while he was helping a CAA member with a flat tire, he was clipped on the shoulder by the mirror of a dump truck travelling on Highway 400. The driver didn’t stop, and McDonald says he doubts he even noticed.
“The hit knocked me over and threw me in front of the member's van. I wasn’t badly hurt, but the experience spooked me especially since at the time I was a single father,” says McDonald.
While McDonald was one of the lucky ones, the estimates are that every year nearly 100 tow truck drivers are killed across North America.
“Everyone deserves a safe place to work,” says Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice-president of government and community relations at CAA South Central Ontario. “The Greater Toronto Area highways are not only some of Canada’s busiest highways, for tow truck operators it’s where they work.”
Since 2014, the OPP has laid more than 9,000 charges against drivers who failed to slow down and move over for tow truck drivers, police and other emergency personnel who were conducting work on the roadside.
“These people count on drivers to give them the safe space they need so that they can make it home to their families at the end of their workday,” says Dave Quigley, acting OPP deputy commissioner of traffic safety and operational support.
The importance of keeping workers safe on the road continues to gain momentum. Recently the Ontario government tabled Bill 107. If passed it will update a subsection of the Highway Traffic Act to include tow truck operators and ‘persons working on the highway’ as vulnerable road users.
McDonald says his close call has changed the way he works. “You always have to keep your head on a swivel; you keep your head up all the time, so you can look at what’s coming at you. You never turn your back to oncoming traffic.”
To read more about the work CAA has done on Slow Down Move Over laws visit our website: https://www.caasco.com/Advocacy/Road-Safety/Slow-Down-Move-Over.aspx
Teresa Di Felice Assistant Vice President, Government and Community Relations
Teresa oversees CAA SCO's advocacy and community relations efforts in Ontario.