Friends of a Windsor area tow truck operator killed on the job two years ago are praising a new piece of tabled provincial legislation.
Ontario’s Minister of Transport, Glen Murray, introduced a wide-ranging piece of road safety legislation Monday.
The proposed law would mandate drivers slow down and move over when passing a tow truck that has its yellow lights activated.
Two years ago, Paul Rocheleau was struck and killed while servicing a car on Huron Church Road, a four-lane highway in Windsor.
Rocheleau's boss was Jeff Kwiatkowski, who owns Sandwich West Towing. Monday, Kwiatkowski called Murray’s bill “a huge relief.”
“Let’s not forget Paul. This legislation could have protected him. Let’s get this passed,” he said.
Garfield Dunlop, the Progressive Conservative MPP for Simcoe North, had twice tabled a private member’s bill that would have forced drivers to slow down and move over.
Once, it died because of an election. The second time, it died because former Premier Dalton McGuinty prorogued the government.
“I’m really pleased that we can finally get this legislation before the house,” Dunlop said. “This is a government bill, so it should have a bit more strength than a private member’s bill. A government bill is meant to pass and meant to become law. This is one of those bills that can actually happen that way.
“This is one where everyone kind of wins on it. If any bill can pass very quickly, it would be this one.”
A possible spring election still looms in Ontario but Dunlop said the government could work quickly to pass Murray’s bill.
“I think we could really make this thing happen in two or three months. Once we get it proclaimed, it doesn’t matter after that if there’s an election,” Dunlop said. “There’s a certain amount of instability here at Queen’s Park so I’m definitely worried it might not happen.”
Rocheleau's daughter, Beth, couldn't be reached for comment.
Rocheleau's brother Frank, who is also a tow truck driver, told CBC News last month the waiting process is frustrating.
"Everyone is entitled to a safe working environment," he said. "If these guys are on the side of the road and they don't have laws protecting them, they're really not in a safe environment."