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'Slow for the tow': EPS to educate drivers on tow truck safety


If you don’t slow down when you see a tow truck at the side of the road, you could face a hefty fine. That’s the message from Edmonton police as they launch the “Slow for the Tow” pilot project.

Over the next six months, the Edmonton Police Service Traffic Safety Unit will be partnering with the Alberta Motor Association to educate and conduct enforcement on motorists on Edmonton and area roadways.

When AMA dispatches a tow truck to a high-speed road like the Anthony Henday, QE II, Whitemud or Yellowhead, they’ll notify EPS, who will send a unit from the TSU if one is available.

Under Alberta’s Traffic Safety Act, drivers who are passing a stopped emergency vehicle or tow truck with its lights flashing are required to slow down to 60 kilometres per hour, or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower.

If possible, the driver should also move over to give the emergency worker one lane of road space.

Fines for drivers who fail to slow down are doubled.

“Tow truck operators provide critical roadside services to motorists throughout the province, and it’s important drivers recognize that their actions on the road can put these essential workers at risk,” says Sergeant Kerry Bates of the EPS’ Traffic Safety Unit in a written release.

“Increasing the awareness of emergency vehicle passing laws is crucial to eliminating serious injuries due to unsafe behaviours on the road.”

In 2021, AMA responded to 37,500 high-risk calls in Alberta, and 4,023 of them were in the City of Edmonton.

Since December 2019, there have been 14 serious incidents — crashes, injuries, or deaths — involving tow trucks providing roadside assistance, and at least 36 near misses.

In 2020, Edmonton police issued 244 tickets to drivers who failed to slow down or stop for an emergency vehicle or tow truck.

"Every Albertan deserves to be safe at work, even if their office is at the side of the road. Slowing down and moving over is not just a slogan. This is about real people at the roadside: their safety and the safety of those they’re helping,” said Michelle Chimko, President and CEO of AMA.

The announcement of the pilot project coincides with Canada’s Road Safety Week, which runs from May 17 to 23. Top Stories

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