Alberta tow truck drivers are speaking out after a driver was struck by a vehicle while responding to a call last week.
“He followed everything, lights on, everything he needed to do to stay safe and still it doesn’t seem to matter,” said Vince Scott, General Manager of Midway Autobody and Towing in Lloydminster.
A tow truck driver suffered serious injuries when he was struck by a vehicle on Nov. 28th near Lloydminster while responding to a call. He was later flown to hospital in Edmonton for treatment.
RCMP said the tow truck was parked with its ramp down and lights activated when it was struck by an eastbound pick up truck. The pick up mounted the ramp and was sent into the air, landing on the cab of the tow truck.
“He’s got a long road to recovery,” Scott said. “He’s got several facial fractures, back fractures, hip, pelvis, heel, sternum. He’s pretty busted up. I mean he was hit by a moving vehicle, he’s got some extensive injuries.”
“It’s heart breaking because these operators are going to suffer life long injuries from this,” said Don Getschel, President of the Towing and Recovery Association of Alberta. “They’re just out there trying to help people.”
The crash happened around 7:30 p.m. near Township Road 494 (12 street) between Range Road 12 and 14 just out side of Lloydminster.
The driver of the pick-up truck suffered minor injuries and was treated on scene.
This is the second incident involving a tow truck driver being struck while on the job in Alberta this fall. On Oct. 15th, a tow truck driver was seriously injured while changing a tire on the side of the road north of Camrose along Highway 833, south of Highway 617.
“It’s shocking because we had another incident not even a month ago,” Getschel said. “These two incidents seemed to involve high speeds, the new laws came out that you’re supposed to slow down, you’re supposed to move over and these vehicles are being hit a high rate of speed.”
Getschel questions how the collisions keep occurring. “The lights are on, they’re flashing. You can see it from way back. How are these trucks still getting hit?”
The Alberta government made changes to the Traffic Safety Act in September. Drivers are now required to slow down when passing all roadside workers, they apply only to the closest lane of traffic, not all lanes of traffic, which is what the province had previously said it was planning for.
Drivers in the lane closest to any roadside worker vehicle stopped on the side of the road with lights flashing must reduce their travelling speed to 60 km/h or the posted speed limit, whichever is lower.
“The laws do help when the people obey them,” Getschel said.
RCMP continue to investigate the Nov. 28th collision but say early indications show alcohol and drugs do not appear to be factors.