Fredericton, New Brunswick — July 11, 2017 — In 2013, New Brunswick passed the ‘move over’ law. The law requires that drivers slow down and move to the left lane (when possible) in the event of a passing emergency vehicle with its lights flashing. Anyone who fails to abide by this law will be fined nearly $300, and lose three points off of their driver’s license. The ‘move over’ law protects Police, ambulances and fire trucks—but one group that could benefit quite greatly from it is left out—tow truck drivers.
Brent Dunphy, a 14-year veteran driver has experienced first-hand the consequences of not protecting tow truck drivers under this law. “I’ve had a few close calls,” said Dunphy. According to CBC, one of these “close calls” includes nearly getting clipped by an inattentive driver, forcing Dunphy to dive under a truck for cover. “I haven’t gotten hit yet, but they just don’t slow down, they don’t move over, they don’t give you the courtesy whatsoever.”
Tovey Clendenning, another tow truck driver, is still recovering from an incident that occurred about four months ago. According to CBC, an SUV driver who was blinded by the sun crashed into Clendenning’s truck, sending him flying eight feet through the air.
“When you are on the side of the road or side of the highway, you are watching all the time, your head’s on a swivel,” said Clendenning. “But you let your guard down on a dead-end street and then bang. Can’t let your guard down, I guess.”
Dunphy, along with many tow truck drivers argues that changing the law will raise awareness on roadside safety, and encourage drivers to pay more attention. “It if saves one life, then we’ve won,” he said.
Gary Howard, the Spokesperson for CAA Atlantic stated that the association has been trying for four years to get the government to revise the move over law, but he is hopeful. “I think we’re making some good progress now, so I expect this is something we will see this year, he said.
Other Canadian provinces, such as Ontario and Quebec have included tow trucks in similar laws regarding traffic conduct.