Following the death of a Saskatchewan tow truck driver during a blizzard last month, the provincial government hopes to make the roads safer.
On Thursday, the province passed legislation that would allow tow trucks to have blue lights, in addition to the current amber ones.
It comes after the death of tow truck driver Courtney Shaefer, who died on the job during a blizzard near Gerald, Sask.
“It is good to see some good come out of it and this fast,” Corey Schaefer, Courtney’s brother, said. “Hopefully it prevents something like this happening to another family.”
He said he believes the blue lights will make a difference on the road.
“In my opinion, you can see the blue lights a lot further away. The guys are out there working in less than ideal conditions a lot of the times,” Schaefer said. “People just don’t take the time to slow down.”
Tow truck operators have long been calling for such a change.
“We hope people are going to get the message to slow down so we can get home to our families,” Harvey Britton, vice-president of Roadside Responders Association of Saskatchewan. “
The law requires drivers in Saskatchewan to slow down to 60 kilometres an hour when passing emergency or assistance vehicles.
“Adding blue lights will increase visibility, heighten awareness as well as increase safety for all operators and the public,” said Joe Hargrave, the minister responsible for SGI.
Saskatchewan is the first province to introduce the blue light, although it won’t be mandatory. Operators can choose to just use the amber light. The province said tow truck drivers can also add additional lights to the truck and trailer, as long as at least one amber light on the top of the truck can be seen from all angles.
The legislation will take effect May 31, with operators able to attach the new lights June 1.
– With files from Sarah Mills