Edmonton, Alberta -- December 7, 2017 -- Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Wayne Drysdale recently introduced Bill 215, the Traffic Safety (Tow Trucks) Amendment Act, 2017. The new bill will allow tow truck operators to install white and blue warning lights onto their trucks as part of an effort to make jobs safer for tow truck drivers. The UCP said the amendment would be a common-sense change to help make tow trucks more visible as they work on Alberta’s highways.
“Restricting tow trucks to just amber lights makes them indistinguishable from road signs and maintenance-related vehicles, especially in the dark,” Drysdale said in a statement. “By adding blue and/or white lights, it will alert drivers to the fact that the vehicle up ahead is a tow truck and that operators are likely to be working outside the vehicle. This adds an extra layer of safety for what can be an extremely dangerous job.”
Harold Fowler, owner of Harold’s Towing, said he raised the issue with Drysdale when he was transportation minister under the previous Progressive Conservative government.
Fowler, who’s been in the towing business in Grande Prairie for 25 years, had expressed concerned for the safety of his 12 drivers. Although motorists are supposed to slow to 60km an hour and change lanes, they do neither, he said.
“Our drivers have had close calls. Luckily none of our drivers have got hit, but our equipment’s been hit,” he said. “Nobody pays any attention to the amber lights; an amber light could be a slow piece of equipment driving down the road or a wide load … So they don’t pay attention to it because they don’t realize it’s a tow truck on the side of the road.”
Fowler said he believes the proposed blue and white warning lights will encourage people to slow down.
The Saskatchewan government passed similar legislation in the spring after a tow truck operator was killed on the job in a roadside collision.
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