Towers need ‘move over’ law for protection

By Andrew Ardizzi

Toronto, Ontario — March 27, 2014 — The Provincial Towing Association of Ontario’s (PTAO) Executive Director Doug Nelson is optimistic Ontario will have its own “move over” law in the near future to protect tow truck operators and other emergency service operators.

“I think there’s a better chance of passing this piece of legislation given that the bill is coming from the government,” says Nelson, referring to the recently proposed bill by Ontario’s Minister of Transport Glen Murray.

Move over laws require drivers to slow down and move over to another lane to allow emergency service crews the space to safely work. The proposed legislation follows two previously failed attempts to introduce similar move over legislation to that of Quebec’s at Queen’s Park, having been introduced on two separate occasions as a private member’s bill by Progressive Conservative MPP Garfield Dunlop.

To the dismay of the towing industry and Dunlop, the bill died before it could be debated, respectively falling by the wayside due a called election and the prorogation of parliament by then-Premier Dalton McGuinty. Given that move-over legislation is deriving from the government, Nelson feels reassured that the third time will be the charm for Ontario’s towers and emergency vehicle operators.

“I’m feeling much more optimistic now than before,” he says, adding emphasis to the importance of the issue. “Tow truck operators all over need this protection.

“We need people to slow down and move over so towers can safely hook up vehicles.”

Nelson says the fines proposed in the legislation should act as a deterrent for drivers prone to creating unsafe roadside conditions, noting this has been a concern for the industry for many years and that drivers need to focus less on their mobile devices and more on driving.

“People need to pay more attention when all emergency service vehicles are on the side of the road,” says Nelson. “Drivers need to be as mindful of towing operators as they do police officers, firefighters and ambulances.”

Dunlop, who twice attempted to introduce a move-over bill to the legislature, is pleased to finally see some positive movement towards passing a piece of legislation to protect the province’s emergency vehicle operators.

“This is a government bill, so it should have a bit more strength than a private member’s bill,” says Dunlop in a release. “A government bill is meant to pass and meant to become law. This is one of those bills that can actually happen that way.

“This is one where everyone kind of wins on it. If any bill can pass very quickly, it would be this one.”
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