Tow truck drivers welcome new law to allow blue lights for safety

Tow truck drivers in Saskatchewan will soon be the first in the country to be allowed to use flashing blue lights on their trucks.

Operators say drivers do not slow down for amber lights

Tow truck operators parked outside the Saskatchewan Legislature as politicians passed new legislation to allow them to have flashing blue lights, in addition to amber. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

Tow truck drivers in Saskatchewan are welcoming a new law to allow them to use flashing blue lights on their trucks.

It is the first such law in the country.

It's good to see some good come out of it.- Corey Schaefer, brother of tow truck driver hit and killed in March

The drivers had been asking for the change for more than a year, but pressure increased after tow truck operator Courtney Schaefer was hit and killed during a blizzard near Esterhazy, Sask., in early March.

His brother, Corey Schaefer, was at the legislature on Thursday to hear the bill introduced. 

Corey Schaefer says he and his family welcome the new law to allow tow trucks to have blue lights. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

"I think this legislation is a huge step in the right direction," he said. "It's good to see some good come out of it, and this fast, and hopefully it prevents something like this from happening to another family."

The provincial government introduced legislation on Thursday to allow tow trucks to install flashing blue, as well as amber, lights on their trucks.

Tow truck operators say the yellow lights are not enough to catch drivers' attention and many of them have had close calls.

Tow truck drivers remember Courtney Schaefer, who was killed on the job during a blizzard in March. (Mike Zartler/CBC)

"Every day, our operators experience near misses," said Harv Britton, vice-president of the Roadside Responders Association of Saskatchewan, in a news release.

"We've been clipped by vehicle mirrors as they whiz past us. Pylons outlining our safety zone at roadside have been run over. People just don't seem to see the flashing amber lights."

It is the law already to slow to 60 kilometres per hour when passing any emergency vehicle with its lights on, including tow trucks.