Sarah Bruce
Public Relations / Member Engagement
Phone: 604-432-7987

NEWS RELEASE – Automotive towing and recovery industry re-news demand for additional emergency lighting in the face of operator death

Vancouver, B.C. (November 20, 2018) – The president of the 1,000-member Automotive Retailers Association (ARA) representing British Columbia’s repair, towing and recovery business is calling for the government to allow tow truck operators to equip trucks with blue and white flashing lights in addition to amber lights to avoid injury or death involving operators. Saskatchewan has adopted similar regulations and Alberta is moving toward these changes.

Castlegar towing company operator Wayne Kernachan was killed last Saturday afternoon after he stopped to aid a motorist whose vehicle had struck a deer. Kernachan had pulled off the road, activated all safety lights on his flat-deck truck and was wearing high visibility clothing when he was struck by a passing truck while removing debris from the road.

He was the third tow truck operator to be killed in North America last weekend with others killed in Texas and Missouri while on the job. Statistics show one operator loses his life in North America every week, mostly while aiding motorists or doing roadside recovery work.

“This needless tragedy underscores the need for additional safety lighting for tow and recovery vehicles which are often the first responders to accidents or disabled vehicles,” says ARA president and CEO Ken McCormack. “We have been asking government for this change for the past five years as a life-saving measure.”

The ARA believes allowing tow and recovery vehicles to display a unique combination of blue and white flashing lamps as well as amber lights that can be seen from all directions will contribute directly to operator safety as well as maintain workplace consistency across the country.

The association represents the towing and recovery industry as active participants in B.C.s Work Zone Safety Alliance – Cone Zone and Slow Down Move Over media campaigns. It has also partnered with other safety organizations including WorksafeBC for purposes of developing and communicating roadside safety management practices and guidelines.

“While all these initiatives may be helpful, injuries and deaths continue with near-miss experiences happening every day,” McCormack says. “Flashing lamps with a lighting combination unique to the towing and recovery work zone will help remind motorists to slow down and move over as well as offer advanced warning that a recovery operation is being performed ahead.”