More blue lights will be found in the community on most first responding vehicles after the Saskatchewan government amended legislation.
Last Thursday, the Vehicle Equipment Regulations were passed to allow more emergency vehicles to add blue flashing lights to their existing lights.
It’s an addition Brad’s Towing understands first hand, having fought for years to have them installed on their trucks.
“It had been on the go for a while,” said Jackie Klotz, the secretary of the Roadside Responders Association of Saskatchewan.
“Then unfortunately in March 2017, Courtney Shaefer was killed while working on the side of the road and after that happened, the government started to listen to us,” she recalled.
Minister Don Morgan said similar tragedy has hit other first responders and it’s what inspired the province to make blue lights available.
“About two years ago outside of Rosetown,“ Morgan said.
“A volunteer firefighter was trying to direct traffic around an accident and was killed at an accident site. It was high fog and limited visibility so anything we can do to protect these people we should do,” he explained.
It’s also an initiative paramedics have been pursuing across the province.
“The paramedic chiefs of Saskatchewan have been lobbying on this for at least a couple of years so this was great news for us,” said Troy Davies, director of public affairs for Medavie Health Services West.
“It’s another tool in the toolbox that keeps our staff safe,” he added.
The staff at Brad’s Towing consider this new legislation a win and hope people will take the blue lights more seriously. However, Klotz said not enough people are slowing down.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people still zoom on by. They don’t care,” Klotz said. “But at least they are starting to change lanes and move over.”
Klotz has hope the challenges are temporary and that eventually seeing blue lights will become part of a person’s everyday driving.
The staff at Brad’s Towing, alongside other first responders, hope this new legislation will keep more people safe.
“Slowing down to 60 km/h is the most important thing when passing an emergency vehicle on the side of the road,” said Klotz.
“That could be your cousin, it could be your dad, it could be your uncle that’s there on the side of the road and they want to go home to their families.”