Calgary, AB,

Slow down, move over

Tow truck drivers, first responders, road maintenance crews and the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund are teaming up to bring awareness to road safety and the need for drivers to slow down and move over when they see flashing lights.

On March 7, 2017, tow truck driver Courtney Schaefer was struck and killed near Esterhazy, Sask. In remembrance of his death and to remind the public about the dangers these professionals face when working on busy roadways, the fourth annual roadside event will be taking place tonight.

Between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m., today, Thursday, March 11, 2021, a contingent of emergency services vehicles will be parked in both directions alongside Stoney Trail and 114 Avenue S.E., as a reminder to drivers to slow down and move over.

Motorists must reduce their speed to 60 km/h or the posted speed, whichever is lower, when passing emergency vehicles or tow trucks that are stopped with their lights flashing. This law applies to the lane(s) immediately next to the stopped vehicles.

The fine for speeding in these areas is doubled. If you are not in the lane next to the stopped vehicles, reduce speed and leave lots of space between yourself and emergency personnel and equipment at the scene.

"Working roadside is the most dangerous aspect of our job as tow truck operators and we need to be able to do our jobs as safely as possible. When you are in trouble on the road, we will be there to help. Give us room to work and we will have the issue resolved as quickly and safely as possible " – Jeff Hribnak, Operations Manager, City Wide Towing

“Paramedics can be called upon to render care anytime, anywhere. This can include busy roads and thoroughfares in all types of weather, and at all times of the day or night. No matter where we are, our priority is to keep ourselves and our patients safe from further harm. You can do your part by choosing safety along with us: slow down and move over if you come upon first responders at work along a roadside.” – Stuart Brideaux, Public Education Officer, Alberta Health Services, EMS.

“Firefighters are often first on the scene of multi-vehicle collisions in our city. Our number one priority is to help citizens in distress and usually this means stationary large vehicles on the roadway. Please pass by these scenes in a safe and responsible way. Don’t become the next incident we have to respond to.” - Chief Steve Dongworth, Calgary Fire Department

"Vehicles are one of the leading causes of fatalities and serious injuries to police officers. Tow truck drivers and emergency workers deserve safe working conditions while we do our duty, and ensure you have the help you need when you need it. As a driver, it is your duty to ensure the safety of those around you while on the road. Slow down, move over, watch out for us and each other." – Acting Sgt. Andrew Parkins, Calgary Police Service

“We need drivers to slow down and give first responders room to work because we want everyone to make it home safely to their families. The John Petropoulos Memorial Fund exists because we know all too well what it is like when a loved one never comes home again…as the result of an injury that could have easily been prevented." - Cliff O’Brien, Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund.