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'Slow down, pay attention,' emergency workers remind Calgary drivers

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Tow truck drivers and first responders team up to raise awareness

Emergency crews and tow truck operators have a reminder for Calgary drivers — slow down and move over when you see flashing lights.
The city's annual road safety event featured a demonstration on Wednesday with a contingent of emergency services vehicles parked in both directions alongside Stoney Trail and 114th Avenue S.E.

"Everyone's got a family to go home to at the end of the day and we're just out here trying to make a living, trying to keep people safe and keep the roadways clear of traffic," said Derrek Spencer, a safety officer with City Wide Towing.


"You know, we just ask that people slow down, pay attention and move over when possible when they see flashing lights, whether it's blues, reds or ambers."    

Motorists are required to reduce their speed to 60 km/h or go the posted speed, whichever is lower, when passing emergency vehicles or tow trucks that are stopped with their lights flashing. 

The law applies to the lane immediately next to the stopped vehicles. The fine for speeding in these areas is doubled.

Alberta law also requires drivers to yield the right-of-way when an ambulance, fire or police vehicle is approaching from any direction and is sounding a siren.

Spencer said collisions involving tow trucks are on the rise.
"Roadways become temporary offices for first responders and tow operators. Paramedics ask motorists to be attentive and give us room to work, while we care for the sick and injured," EMS spokesperson Adam Loria said.



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Slow Down, Move Over campaign to hit Calgary roads Wednesday evening


Emergency service vehicles will be parked in solidarity alongside Stoney Trail and 114 Avenue S.E. in Calgary on Wednesday evening, reminding drivers to slow down and move over when they see those familiar flashing lights.


The Slow Down, Move Over campaign will take place between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m.


The initiative aims to draw more attention to road safety following the death of a tow truck driver in 2017, who was struck and killed by a passing vehicle near Esterhazy, Sask.


“Tow truck drivers and emergency workers deserve safe working conditions while they work to make sure that if you ever find yourself in trouble on the road, the right supports are made available to you.”


Derrek Spencer, a manager with City Wide Towing, said all roadside workers encounter dangers that put their lives at risk.

He hopes this campaign serves as an important safety reminder to all drivers.


“The purpose of Slow Down, Move Over is to raise awareness for the safety of all roadside workers, including tow trucks, EMS, fire, police and highway [or] road maintenance,” Spencer said.
The campaign also works to remind drivers of the law surrounding passing emergency vehicles: a driver must reduce speed to 60 kilometres per hour or the posted speed — whichever is lower — in the lane next to a stopped vehicle.
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