Ottawa, Ontario — August 31, 2015 — Over 50 tow truck drivers gathered this weekend to rally in support of an operator who was recently struck on Ottawa’s Highway 417.
Travelling from across the city and surrounding area, the group of drivers came together on August 30 in a Canadian Tire Centre parking lot—just a few feet away from where Abbas Kadir was hit by a passing vehicle on the afternoon of August 26, the Ottawa Sun reports.
The Jonny’s Towing founder had been working roadside at the scene of a two-vehicle crash near Palladium Drive when he was hit by a 19-year-old female driver. Kadir suffered severe multi-system trauma and remains in hospital in critical condition.
Kadir’s son Alan was among the fleet of tow operators making the police-escorted drive from the Canadian Tire Centre to the Civic Hospital, where they honked their truck horns and flashed their lights in a gesture of support.
Alan, who works for his father’s company as a tow truck driver, says Kadir is still sedated, but is slowly recovering and is starting to breathe on his own.
While honouring their colleague, ralliers also aimed to raise awareness of Ontario’s Move Over law, set to take effect this week. For many, last week’s incident has helped to highlight the need for enforcement and public education.
“It really affected me because this is my job and I just saw someone I respect and work with, left fighting for his life,” tower Cory Lague, an organizer of the event, told the Sun. “Today, we want to show our respect for anyone in any type of road work area. People drive crazy out there. We just want people to move over because we all have families.”
Tow truck drivers across the province are welcoming the amendment to the Highway Traffic Act—Bill 31, the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act—extending roadside worker protection to tow truck drivers.
Starting September 1, motorists who do not slow or down or move over when approaching a parked tow truck with its amber lights flashing face a fine ranging from $300 to $1,000 and three demerit points. First offenders will be charged around $490.
“Concentrate on the roadway. Watch what is in front of you, what is beside you, what speed limit you are doing, what the road conditions are,” former tow truck driver Bob Fontaine told CTV News. “It takes this much to prevent an accident like what’s happened here to our brother.”