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Burnaby – New rules of the road to protect emergency roadside workers will come into effect on June 1, 2009 requiring drivers to slow down and move over when passing stopped emergency vehicles that have their lights flashing.

The new law brings welcome relief to many emergency roadside providers, including tow truck operators. BCAA has actively advocated for safety regulations on behalf of its Road Assist personnel and towing companies for a number of years.

BCAA’s advocacy efforts stemmed from the death of Vernon Towing employee, Ernie Semkiw who was struck and killed by a passing van while assisting a disabled vehicle on behalf of BCAA. His tow truck’s amber lights were activated at the time.

“By slowing down and moving over, drivers will be able to safely pass and respond to emergency activity at the roadside, and more importantly, save lives,” says BCAA’s Road Assist Director, Ken Cousin. “We applaud government for listening and introducing these new measures, in sync with similar regulations elsewhere in Canada and the U.S.” Currently five provinces and 40 U.S. states have similar requirements.

The new law requires drivers to slow down to 70km/h on highways where the speed limit is 80 km/h or higher, and to 40 km/h where the limit is below 80 km/h, when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle that has its lights flashing. If there is another lane going in the same direction, drivers must also move into that lane, if it is safe to do so.

Until now, B.C. has only had laws for driving in construction zones; none to protect emergency roadside personnel such as police, fire, ambulance and towing vehicles. Those found in contravention of the new rules will face a fine and three penalty points against their licence. The fine, including a 15 per cent surcharge, is $148 if paid within 30 days or $175 thereafter.

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I have lost track of the number of times we’ve been contacted by construction companies or other customers who are hoping that one of our drivers has seen their stolen equipment. Just this week we received a bulletin from someone whose firewood processor had been stolen from somewhere in the BC Lower Mainland.

FleetFINDTechnology Used to Capture Construction Equipment Thieves Red-Handed

Aurora, ONFleetFIND Technologies Incorporated announced its new theft prevention and recovery system for construction equipment. The system allows the owners of backhoes, bulldozers, cranes and other equipment to locate their equipment on any street in North America and to disable the starter if the use of the equipment is unauthorized.

In today’s economy equipment theft can have a major impact. “Equipment theft results in higher insurance premiums, down time and the inability to meet deadlines,” said Jonathan Persaud, Managing Director of FleetFIND, “our system costs less, is easily accessible for installation and has more features than similar products on the market.”

In a recent instance, the FleetFIND device was used to retrieve a tow behind generator. On a Sunday evening the owner of the device received an alert on his cell phone indicating that the generator was moving. He telephoned his partner to see if he was using the equipment. When his partner said no, he called the police to report the situation. He explained that he was using FleetFIND technology to track the device via the Internet. The police dispatched cruisers to the location where the equipment had come to a stop and the thieves were apprehended red-handed along with several other pieces of equipment.

In 2007, heavy equipment theft was pegged at about $33 million in Canada. A recent American study revealed that loaders were the number one piece of equipment stolen in the United States and that the overall industry losses due to theft amounted to nearly one billion dollars. In 2005, costs in Canada due to theft were estimated at about $46 million.

FleetFIND Technologies Incorporated provides wireless location based fleet and asset management applications. This enables to increase productivity of their assets, while adding an unprecedented element of safety, security and convenience.

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We’ve redesigned our web site, and with the addition of our Towing Blog, we’ll be able to post news, recovery stories and more from the towing industry. Stay tuned for further updates.

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