A special tow operators’ vigil is being organized for March 7 to raise the awareness of highway safety and for past tow drivers killed while recovering vehicles on busy highway roads. The Towing and Recovery Association of Alberta is advocating for blue emergency lights for tow trucks. File photo

Movement afoot to raise safety awareness for tow drivers

Tow operators plan for emergency lights vigil in honour of one operator killed in Saskatchewan

A movement is afoot among tow truck operators in Alberta to raise the awareness of Courtney Schaefer, a young tow truck operator killed in Saskatchewan last year.

Set on the first anniversary of his death, tow truck drivers in the province plan to hold a special vigil March 7 at 7 p.m. highlighting the dangers operators face on a daily basis. Keith Stebner, of Ponoka First Call Towing, is also a director with the relatively new Towing and Recovery Association of Alberta and he’s advocating for other tow truck operators in the area to take part.

“We’ve been hit twice in the 20 years we’ve been at it,” said Stebner of the dangers, adding that he and his crews were lucky in that it was only his vehicles that were struck.

“We got hit just not too long ago…luckily enough not too much damage.”

Alberta laws require that if there are emergency lights flashing on the roads, motorists are required to slow down to a maximum of 60 km/h, or the posted speed, whichever is slower in the lane immediately next to the stopped vehicles.

But at times those rules are either forgotten or not followed, which is another reason Stebner says the association is pushing for blue emergency lights for tow trucks.

He pointed out that at times, if there’s a blind spot or the road conditions are bad, he will run a second truck to keep not only his staff safe, but the motorists they’re helping.

Stebner is working on organizing other emergency vehicles and tow truck companies to take part in the vigil. He added that there’s a contingent of tow truck operators planning on taking part.

The exact location is yet to be determined but Stebner hopes to hold this area’s vigil in an easy to see location but keeping the trucks in a spot that’s safe for motorists.

“We want as much visibility as we can get without creating a hazard,” said Stebner.

For more information find the Towing and Recovery Association of Alberta Facebook page for locations of the vigils.

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