by Mary Wimmer
Did you know that across North America, nearly 100 tow truck drivers are killed every year after being struck by oncoming traffic? It happens when they’ve stopped to help stranded motorists with flat tires, breakdowns or collisions.
As an advocate for road safety, CAA North & East Ontario is reminding all motorists to keep roads safe by slowing down, moving over and avoiding the temptation to stare at roadway incidents (or “rubbernecking”).
It’s also why we’re declaring May 14, 2019 to be the National Day of Safety for Tow Truck Operators: to remind all drivers to make space for tow trucks providing service on the shoulder of highways.
This special day focuses attention on Ontario’s Slow Down, Move Over law, which includes tow truck drivers under its protection.
Get to know one of our tow truck operators. Meet Alan Cleroux, a CAA Emergency Roadside Service Technician, and find out what he thinks about the law.
How did you get into the tow industry?
AC: I was born and raised around vehicles and a big fan growing up reading and watching anything superhero related. So the tow industry is my dream job. Not only do I get to see and fix all types of vehicles, I also get the feeling of being a superhero saving people that are in need of help.
Did anything surprise you about driving the truck?
AC: I’ve been driving for years and have seen many tow trucks throughout my journeys and never really thought how dangerous it can be until I started in the industry myself.
Had you heard about the Slow Down, Move Over legislation before you started working with CAA?
AC: Not before starting with CAA. But with that being said, I would always move over and slow down when approaching any vehicles with hazards or emergency flashers on due to the fact that anything can happen. It’s just common sense.
What’s been the impact of the law on your work?
AC: Like any law, there are the people that follow it and those that unfortunately do not. I always have to be on high alert for that reason.
Do you think your job is worth the risk?
AC: Yes! Nothing can compare to the feeling you get saving CAA Members every day. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Please remember to slow down, and move over. It’s not just a courtesy – it’s the law. In 2017, the Ontario Provincial Police laid more than 2,100 charges under the Slow Down, Move Over legislation. The law includes a fine of $490 and three demerit points.
Learn more about the National Day of Safety for Tow Truck Operators here.