Ontario tow truck drivers welcome new road rules

Thunder Bay, Ontario — August 27, 2015 — In less than a week, Ontario motorists will be required by law to give tow operators room to work on the province’s roadways.

Effective September 1, tow trucks will join the list of vehicles, such as police cruisers and ambulances, already protected under Ontario’s Move Over law. Under the legislation, drivers must reduce speeds and move into an adjacent lane if possible when passing a parked emergency vehicle with its lights flashing.

Tow truck drivers across the province are welcoming the amendment to the Highway Traffic Act—Bill 31, the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act—approved by the province on June 2.

Cozy’s Towing and Float Service’s Rick Dykeman told the Chronicle Journal that it’s about time. He says that due to the nature of his job, it’s not always possible to pay attention to the actions of other drivers, which can have dire consequences.

“There’s a tow truck driver killed every six days in North America due to the public not moving over and not slowing down,” says the Thunder Bay-based operator. “I have had a close call. I had a safety vest torn off my back by a semi-trailer.”

Jay Dagenais, Cozy’s owner, says her employees experience frequent near misses, with passing vehicles coming within inches of clipping tow truck mirrors. Dagenais adds that the business no longer changes tires on the city’s highway, opting to tow the vehicle to a safer area first.

Beginning next Tuesday, motorists found in violation of the law face a fine ranging from $300 to $1,000 and three demerit points. First offenders will be charged around $490.

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