Wednesday, September 16, 2009

CAA: Tow Truck Emergency Status Needed

Here's the story from the Winnipeg Sun:

Like everyone in his line of work, tow truck operator Tim Paskaruk has a story.

Last winter, Paskaruk went out to assist on a call on Highway 59 near Bird's Hill Park. It seems a car hit a patch of black ice and had slid far into the ditch.

Paskaruk parked his truck -- lights flashing and all -- further up the highway before the scene of the accident to alert motorists as they approached the crash area.

Lost control

As the first tow truck began to slowly pull the car out, he got into the vehicle, keeping the wheels straight to ensure an easy exit.

As he sat in the car, a Toyota 4-Runner lost control on the slick road and flipped over, landing in the ditch right where Paskaruk first got into the car.

"It was right in front of me," he said. "I watched it happen from the car. Fifteen feet away. I would have been killed."

In an effort to curb these dangerous situations, CAA Manitoba has decided to get the message out.

Move Over Manitoba is a two-pronged campaign designed to not only ask motorists to brake when they approach a tow truck, but to hopefully convince the provincial government to make a change to the Highway Traffic Act.

Current legislation only protects emergency vehicles with heavy fines to offenders who do not slow their speeds and move over to the side of the road. CAA Manitoba wants tow trucks to be included, too.

"People know that if they're passing an ambulance or a fire truck and they don't slow down, there will be a fine," said Mike Mager, president of CAA Manitoba.

Mager said while no tow truck operators have died as a result of motorist negligence, some have been hit by car mirrors while on the side of the road.

Drivers often joke the little orange triangles they put out at a crash site work great -- as the sound they make when people drive over them while speeding through a crash scene serves as a warning to get out of the way.

No formal dialogue has taken place with the province, but Mager expects those discussions to begin soon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

its amazing that I always read the stories and the media says "people know about police and fire trucks and the need to move over".

But what about the common sense which motorists are supposed to have. It seems that everyone thinks they own the road and to get out of "THEIR WAY" no matter what is happening.