Research Papers

Everyone deserves a safe place to work, including tow truck operators

Version 1
Date added June 30, 2016
Downloaded 0 times/fois
Category 2016 CARSP XXVI Halifax
Tags Policy and Practice, Session 2A
Author/Auteur Elliott Silverstein
Stream/Volet Policy and Practice

Slidedeck Presentation only (no paper submitted)

2A - Silverstein


Background/Context: Every year, nearly 100 tow truck drivers are killed while doing their job assisting stranded drivers on the roadside.

In most places in the world, drivers are required to slow down and move over (when safe to do so) for emergency vehicles. In 5 Canadian provinces and nearly every US state, drivers are required to slow down and move over for tow truck drivers who are stopped on the roadside assisting others.

In June 2015, the Province of Ontario joined that list of North American jurisdictions and passed legislation that includes tow trucks in the law that requires drivers to slow down and move over when they are stopped on the roadside. CAA has been a longtime advocate for making the roads safer for motorists, including stranded drivers and the tow truck operators assisting them.

CAA annually completes 67% of the roadside assistance calls in Canada and knows the value of making the roadside a safer place to work. We have personally felt the impacts of the everyday risks taken by our tow truck operators working on the roadside. In Ontario we have been advocating for the inclusion of tow trucks in slow down move over legislation when they are stopped at the roadside since 2010. The passing of the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act (Bill 31) in June 2015 is a success to improve the safety of tow truck operators coming to the aid of stranded drivers on our roads.

CAA played an active role in supporting the passage of the Bill and in getting the word out about a number of changes through the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act, including those surrounding slow down move over. The changes to the law are as important as the education provided to the public for compliance and improved safety."
"Aims/Objectives: With the safety of our members and tow truck operators at risk, CAA aimed to have drivers slow down and move over, when possible, when a tow truck is stopped on the roadside with its amber lights flashing and assisting a stranded driver.

CAA aims to reduce the number of deaths, injuries and close calls encountered by tow truck operators as they assist stranded drivers on the roadside.

To achieve this we advocated for changes to the Highway Traffic Act for the possibility of enforcement, and the second is ensuring that all drivers are aware of the changes to the law and understand the importance of complying, not because of the fine, but for the safety of those around them."

Methods/Target Group: The primary target group we wanted to keep safe was our tow truck operators and those being assisted at the side of the road.

The primary target group we focused on to support their safety was Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs).

Lastly, the motoring public was our third target group to impact their driving behavior by creating awareness and action of slowing down and moving over upon sight of a stopped tow truck assisting another vehicle on the roadside."

Results/Activities: CAA undertook a variety of activities to see passage of legislation, and provide the public education necessary to inform the public and encourage safe driving habits. The following are a list of those activities and preliminary results where applicable.

2011 – Support of then-Bill 156 (prior to the provincial election), reintroduced in 2012, and CAA supported then-Bill 38 (Introduced in March 2012)
2012 – Presented to the Ontario legislature with 7,500 signatures in support of extending Slow Down Move Over to tow trucks stopped on the roadside.

CAA’s Government Relations team has made presentations to the Standing Committee on General Government in support of Bill 31 (Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act) and met with elected representatives of all three parties to advocate for quick passage of Bill 31. CAA was one of a select number of stakeholders that spoke alongside the Minister of Transportation in the fall of 2014 to promote Bill 31 and the need for stronger legislation to ensure safety for all road users.

Heads Up Campaign –CAA developed and executed on a campaign to inform and educate the public on the changes to various laws based on the passing of the Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act. The campaign included the following:

Bus back advertising in 10 Ontario communities following the passage of the bill

Microsite dedicated to the topic detailing the changes to laws that affect road users (87,327 unique page views from June to August)

Social media posts and paid advertising, online advertising (e.g. Facebook ads: 532,207 impressions, 10,907 clicks)

CAA Daily Boost blogs:
o “Prepare for change…” 94,475 unique visits, 1.1k likes, 24 tweets, 142 comments
o “3 ways Bill 31 changes…” 119,004 unique visits, 2.9k likes, 77 tweets, 117 comments

Radio tags and PSA’s in 13 Ontario communities (specifically on Slow Down Move Over)

Officially launched at a media event held in Toronto on July 27, 2015, with representatives from the OPP, Toronto Police Service, York Regional Police, and Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, the Hon. Steven Del Duca. (Media outlets in attendance: CP24, City News, Global TV, CBC TV, North York Mirror, Epoch Times, New Tang Dynasty TV)"

Discussion/Deliverables: Bill 31 – Making Ontario’s Roads Safer Act: the quick passage of the bill is a great success towards making the roadside a safer place to work. As government can change, and priorities can shift, we learned how our persistence and presence at provincial government was necessary to consistently bring forward the issues we knew were important to road safety. Our lessons from this experience will be shared across the many issues that we continue to work on that require the support of government, whether it be federal, provincial or municipal.

CAA will continue its Heads Up Campaign to increase awareness and educate on the importance of compliance of the changes to law. The campaign is ongoing, and further details on new results can be shared at the conference. This would include magazine, video, website and online advertising results. Video would include a video specific to educating about the Slow Down, Move Over changes.

While working closely with the Ministry of Transportation to ensure effective timing of our educational campaign, challenges included matching timing of the campaign execution with the fluidity of government process. We learned how to prepare for this flexibility and to accommodate our own processes simultaneously.

Elliott Silverstein