CAA_SCO_SUM21

CAA_SCO_SUM21

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SUMMER 2021 | 57 insider: road safety PHOTOGRAPHY CAA SOUTH CENTRAL ONTARIO This advice is intended to provide general information only and is not intended to provide legal or professional advice, or to be relied on in any dispute, claim, action, demand or proceeding. CAA South Central Ontario does not accept liability for any damage or injury resulting from reliance on this information. I T WAS A DECADE AGO, but tow truck operator John Kimove can still clearly remember the day he almost died. It was a spring aernoon in 2011, just before rush hour, and the owner of Chatham-Kent's National Roadside Solutions was stopped on the side of Highway 401 helping a driver with a tire change. By chance, Kimove, now 56, turned around and saw a car on the shoulder barrelling toward him. "I looked up and I remember thinking, 'Uh oh, is this guy going to hit me?'" Kimove says the driver was about 50 metres away — close enough, Kimove remembers, to make eye contact — when he swerved back into traffic, seing off a three-car pileup. Luckily, Kimove was unhurt, but the experience was sobering. Across North America, about 100 tow truck operators are killed every year while aending to stranded vehicles. "Just being out there, tow operators are risking their lives," Kimove says. "Everybody's in a rush. But they don't think about the consequences of what could happen." Slow Down, Move Over legislation requires drivers to slow down and proceed with caution if they see a tow truck — or any other emergency vehicle — stopped on the side of the road with their lights flashing. If possible, motorists should also change lanes. If they don't, they face a minimum fine of $490 and three demerit points for a first offence. Repeat offenders could lose their licence for two years and face up to six months of jail time. While the law has been in effect for six years, a CAA survey conducted in April 2020 found that just 55 percent of drivers slow down and move over for tow trucks. More than 87 percent make way for other emergency vehicles, a dangerous double standard, warns Teresa Di Felice, assistant vice president of government and community relations with CAA South Central Ontario. "There is a huge safety risk these people take every day," she says. She reminds motorists that tow operators are performing an emergency service. "They're doing this job to rescue people who are stranded and in need of assistance." Each May, CAA clubs across Canada coordinate a national Slow Down, Move Over Day as part of a broader campaign to remind motorists to be cautious around tow truck operators. Visit caasco.com/slowdown for more information. Safe Space Road safety advocates are reminding drivers to slow down and move over for tow operators

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