Cone Zones keep roadside workers safe

BURNABY, BC, July 4, 2012 /CNW/ – The Work Zone Safety Alliance has launched their 2012 Cone Zone campaign — a road safety initiative that encourages drivers to take care when driving near roadside workers. The campaign encourages drivers to reduce their speed, avoid driver distraction, and respect the roadside as a workplace when driving through the “Cone Zone.”

“This is the busiest time of the year for road construction, so it is important for drivers to pay attention and avoid distractions in work zones,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Minster Blair Lekstrom. “These workers are sons and daughters, fathers and mothers, and we want every one of them to return home to their families after work.”

This year, drivers can visit for more information.  The new website is a driver resource with tips and helpful information about safely navigating through roadside work zones.

For roadside workers the “Cone Zone” is a potentially high-risk work environment in close proximity to traffic. In the last ten years, WorkSafeBC has received 386 claims from workers — typically working in Cone Zones — who were struck by motor vehicles.  Of the claims, 46 per cent were classified as serious injuries and three per cent resulted in the death of the worker.

Every day roadside workers around the province experience near misses — incidents that do not result in workplace injury, but had the potential to do so.

“The difference between a near miss and a serious injury can often amount to little more than luck,” says Mark Ordeman, WorkSafeBC manager for Transportation. “Many roadside workers have narrowly avoided being injured by drivers, and have come very close to having their lives changed by a workplace injury.”

The summer months see an increase in roadside work throughout the province.  These set-ups are not always road construction.  Municipal workers, landscapers, tow-truck drivers, telecommunications and utility workers, and emergency and enforcement personnel set up “Cone Zones”.

When you enter the “Cone Zone,” reduce your speed, pay attention, and be respectful of the roadside workers and their workplace.

For more information visit

Editor’s Notes:

The “Cone Zone” message expands beyond the messages of two other initiatives — WorkSafeBC’s “Slow Down” signage campaign aimed at large construction projects, and the provincial government legislation that requires drivers to “slow down and move over” when approaching emergency vehicles stopped at the side of the road — to encompass all roadside workers.

About the Work Zone Safety Alliance:

The Cone Zone campaign is a joint provincial initiative supported by organizations committed to improving the safety of roadside workers. They are the BCAA Road Safety Foundation, BC Ambulance Service, BC Construction Safety Alliance, BC Flagging Association, BC Hydro, BC Landscape and Nursery Association, BC Municipal Safety Association, B.C. Road Builders and Heavy Construction Association, FortisBC, IBEW258, ICBC, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, RDM Enterprises, Actsafe, Telus, The Community Against Preventable Injuries, Automotive Retailers Association, Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services, Lower Mainland police, and WorkSafeBC.

About WorkSafeBC:

WorkSafeBC is an independent provincial statutory agency governed by a board of directors that serves about 2.3 million workers and more than 200,000 employers. WorkSafeBC was born from the historic compromise between B.C.’s workers and employers in 1917 where workers gave up the right to sue their employers and fellow workers for injuries on the job in return for a no-fault insurance program fully paid for by employers. WorkSafeBC is committed to safe and healthy workplaces and to providing return-to-work rehabilitation and legislated compensation benefits.

OPP Cancels Towing and Impoundment Contract RFP

ORILLIA, ON, May 16, 2012 /CNW/ – The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) announced today that it is cancelling the Request for Proposals (RFP) it issued in 2011 to secure Ontario Impound Facility Operators (IFC). The RFP would have established IFCs to provide towing and impoundment services for legislatively authorized tow and impoundment authorities.

Since the RFP (OPP-0460 RFP Motor Vehicle Impound Facilities And Related Services) was posted to MERX on May 17, 2011, the OPP has deemed it necessary to cancel the RFP and reissue a new one that better meets the OPP’s need.

Under amendments to the Highway Traffic Act enacted through Bill 126, vehicle/tow impoundment responsibilities for 45, 90 and 180-day vehicle impoundments have been transferred to police services and become part of other legislative seizures and tows currently under OPP authority.

These are:

  • The seven-day impoundment program for street racing;
  • The seven-day impoundment for drivers suspended under the HTA (excluding suspensions for defaulted fines and medical reasons);
  • The seven-day impoundment for drivers with a BAC over 80 mg. or fail/refuse to comply with the demand of a police officer (e.g. for a breath sample);
  • The seven-day impoundment for drivers caught driving without a required ignition interlock device.

The OPP is notifying all proponents who responded to the RFP and has commenced preparation of a modified RFP which it expects to reissue in the fall.  Stakeholders will be notified as soon as the new RFP date has been confirmed.

FortisBC launches incentive program for heavy-duty natural gas vehicles

The environment, utility customers and fleet owners to benefit from the program

FortisBC LogoSURREY, BC, May 16, 2012 /CNW/ Following the Government of B.C.’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction regulation announcement, FortisBC is today announcing an incentive funding program to assist qualifying heavy-duty fleet operators to purchase natural gas vehicles.

“FortisBC sees the potential of liquefied and compressed natural gas as a transportation fuel solution in British Columbia,” said Doug Stout, vice president, energy solutions and external relations, FortisBC. “Over the past few years we’ve worked with several organizations with return to base, heavy-duty fleets including Vedder Transport, Waste Management and the Kelowna School District. Today’s announcement allows us to build on these initial successes and help realize benefits for the environment, existing utility customers and fleet owners.”

Program benefits include:

  • greenhouse gas emissions reductions – ranging from 20 to 30 per cent through the displacement of high carbon fuels such as diesel. Greenhouse gas reductions from the first five years of the program are anticipated to be the equivalent of taking 12,000 cars off the road.
  • fuel savings – natural gas is approximately 40 per cent less expensive than diesel. This could help reduce the cost of public services such as waste collection and transit and increase the competitiveness of B.C. businesses by reducing transport costs for goods.

“All gas utility customers will benefit from the additional volumes of natural gas moving through FortisBC’s pipeline system,” said Stout. “The costs of maintaining the pipeline system are recovered in the delivery rates of all customers. Better year-round, optimization of these pipeline assets, especially during the summer months when heating requirements are reduced, will result in a long-term, positive impact for our customers.”

FortisBC will be applying to the B.C. Utilities Commission for a determination on how program costs will be recovered from all gas utility customers. It is anticipated that the long-term effect of the program will be a positive impact to customers’ delivery rates.

“FortisBC’s new program will help build B.C.’s global leadership in clean transportation and could lead to the conversion of approximately 1,500 vehicles, bringing new jobs and other economic opportunities to B.C.,” said Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines. “Natural gas is a cheaper, cleaner alternative to traditional gasoline and diesel and this program will encourage more companies to take advantage of natural gas.”

The $104.5 million in program funding includes:

  • $62 million to offset a percentage of the incremental capital cost of a qualifying natural gas vehicle versus the cost of an equivalent diesel powered vehicle. This includes funding to provide training and upgrades to facilities to safely maintain natural gas vehicles.
  • $12 million for compressed natural gas fuelling stations
  • $30.5 million for liquefied natural gas fuelling stations

During the initial phase of the program, FortisBC will provide up to 80 per cent of new incentives for the incremental cost of a natural gas vehicle. FortisBC’s plan is to decrease the funding by 10 per cent per each following year of the program as the adoption of natural gas vehicles in heavy-duty transportation increases. As natural gas fuel use in the heavy-duty transportation sector matures over time, FortisBC believes that incentives will no longer be necessary. Although the incentive program is expected to expire in 2017, utility customers and British Columbians will continue to benefit as the adoption of natural gas vehicles increases.

Eligible applicants for this program are commercial, return-to-base fleet operators of:

  • heavy-duty trucking  (highway transport tractors)
  • buses (transit, school)
  • vocational vehicles (refuse trucks,  delivery vehicles)
  • marine vessels (ferries)

FortisBC is intending to begin accepting applications in early June. All applications will be evaluated in a competitive process measured against defined program criteria. This process and the incentive awards will be reviewed by a third party fairness advisor. It is expected that program demand will exceed available funding. Successful applicants will be announced publicly with disclosure of project details and amount of funding awarded. Full program details and updates are available at

In addition to its pipeline system, FortisBC has an LNG facility in Delta and another near Ladysmith, making the company well positioned to support natural gas as a transportation fuel for the B.C. market.

FortisBC is a regulated utility focused on providing safe and reliable energy, including natural gas, electricity, propane and thermal energy solutions. FortisBC employs more than 2,300 British Columbians and serves approximately 1.1 million customers in more than 135 B.C. communities. FortisBC is indirectly wholly owned by Fortis Inc., the largest investor-owned distribution utility in Canada. FortisBC owns and operates four regulated hydroelectric generating plants, approximately 7,000 kilometres of transmission and distribution power lines and approximately 47,000 kilometres of natural gas transmission and distribution pipelines. FortisBC Inc., FortisBC Energy Inc., FortisBC Energy (Vancouver Island) Inc., and FortisBC Energy (Whistler) Inc. do business as FortisBC. Fortis Inc. shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and trade under the symbol FTS. Additional information can be accessed at or

MEDIA BACKGROUNDER – FortisBC and Natural gas for transportation

B.C.’s transportation industry is responsible for about 36 per cent of provincial greenhouse gas emissions.

FortisBC natural gas vehicle projects

  • Waste Management has converted 20 new waste hauler trucks in the Lower Mainland to CNG.
  • Vedder Transport has added 50 heavy-duty LNG trucks to its fleet.
  • Kelowna School District has converted 13 new school busses to CNG
  • BFI, through its contract with the City of Surrey, will convert 52 new waste haulers to CNG.

In 2011, FortisBC received regulatory approval to provide temporary refuelling services to Vedder Transport through an LNG fuelling station. This interim station will stay in service until the permanent facility is completed later in 2012. It will be Western Canada’s first large-scale liquefied natural gas fuel station, helping reduce B.C.’s greenhouse gases by over 3,500 tonnes a year.  Vedder Transport is able to safely and economically refuel their new fleet of 50 LNG-powered trucks on their own premises.

Environmental benefits
Converting fleets and vehicles to natural gas not only helps the province meet its greenhouse gas reduction goals but also helps improve air quality in the communities in which they serve.

  • Natural gas burns cleaner than gasoline or diesel, which can result in less pollution and greenhouse gases.
  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the principal greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming, are reduced by 20 to 30 per cent
  • Natural gas vehicles emit virtually no particulate matter, the harmful microscopic component of air pollution that penetrates deeply into the lungs.
  • Businesses converting their fleet to natural gas will help meet the province’s requirements for greenhouse gas reductions under the B.C. Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act.
  • Natural gas for transportation also helps achieve B.C.’s energy objectives defined under the Clean Energy Act.

Other benefits

  • More stable fuel costs: historically, natural gas commodity prices have been shown to be more stable, compared to the fluctuation of prices for diesel and gasoline. Natural gas fuel costs have historically been 25 to 40 per cent less than diesel.
  • Fewer emissions: natural gas is a cleaner burning, lower carbon fuel than diesel or gasoline.
  • Quieter: operators of natural gas waste hauler trucks report they are quieter than comparable diesel trucks.

FortisBC light-duty incentive program
Although FortisBC’s focus remains on heavy-duty natural gas return-to-base fleets to help establish the required re-fuelling infrastructure, it is continuing an incentive program for customers purchasing a new factory built CNG light-duty vehicle or converting an existing light-duty vehicle to CNG.

FortisBC is offering incentives for light-duty vehicles such as:

  • passenger cars (e.g. Honda Civic GX),
  • pickup trucks (e.g. Ford F150),
  • cargo vans and minivans (e.g. Chevrolet Express Van), and
  • forklifts.

FortisBC has been an active member of the Canadian Natural Gas Vehicle Alliance and the Canadian Gas Association, helping to promote natural gas as a transportation fuel in Canada.

IBC offers Top 10 tips for Canada Road Safety Week

VANCOUVER, May 14, 2012 /CNW/ – Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) is offering tips for motorists during Canada Road Safety Week to increase their personal road safety habits.

“We want Canadians to be as safe as possible on the roads. These tips deal with common driver issues and can make a difference in the number of lives saved on the roads,” says Lindsay Olson, Vice President, British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba with IBC.

The goal of Canada Road Safety Week aligns with Canada’s Road Safety Strategy 2015, to make Canada’s roads the safest in the world. This initiative follows the 2008 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report that ranked Canada 10th in terms of fatalities per billion vehicle kilometers traveled compared to other members of the OECD.

Top 10 road safety tips:

  1. Avoid driver distractions. Distracted drivers can be just as impaired as drunk drivers.
  2. Ensure proper use of seat belts, child car seats and booster seats at all times.
  3. Obey the rules of the road, respect posted speed limits, the rights of other drivers and drive according to road conditions.
  4. Understand graduated licensing restrictions. Encourage yourself to learn more about being a safe road user at every age.
  5. Always have a designated driver. Impaired driving is a serious danger to public safety as alcohol and drugs can reduce a driver’s reaction times and attention to the road.
  6. If you’re experiencing driver fatigue pull off the road to a safe spot and have a nap as driving while drowsy can be just as fatal as impaired driving.
  7. Be alert to the presence of all vulnerable road users and operate your vehicle safely around them.
  8. If you are a medically-at-risk driver, protect yourself and consistently refresh your driving knowledge.
  9. Share the road with trucks. Be visible and be aware of a motor carrier’s capabilities and limitations.
  10. Spread the word to friends and family about safer road behaviour and road safety issues. Education starts with you.

(Source: IBC, Transport Canada, Ontario Ministry of Transportation and Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists)

More commercial trucks, fewer safety inspectors a dangerous mix: BCGEU

BCGEU - More commercial trucks, fewer safety inspectors (IMAGE)

The BC Government and Service Employees' Union, which represents BC's commercial vehicle inspectors, is launching a campaign to raise public awareness about the unsafe conditions created by a shortage of vehicle safety inspectors across the province. The campaign uses billboards, radio and bus ads to point out that 1-in4 vehicle inspector positions remained vacant over the past decade, while heavy truck traffic increased almost 50 per cent in that time. (CNW Group/B.C. Government and Service Employees' Union)

VANCOUVER, May 14, 2012 /CNW/ – A shortage of commercial vehicle inspectors and an almost 50 per cent increase in heavy truck traffic over the last decade has made B.C.’s public roads less safe, the B.C. Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU) claimed today.

The union released government data it says shows a steady decline in safety standards on B.C. roads since the Commercial Vehicle Safety and Enforcement (CVSE) branch was brought back into government service from ICBC in 2003.

Since then, more than 1-in-4 commercial vehicle inspector jobs have gone unfilled and heavy commercial vehicle traffic has gone up by almost half, while weigh scales are closed and crashes continue to rise.

“B.C.’s commercial vehicle inspector corps is being stretched to the breaking point,” says BCGEU president Darryl Walker. “They’re being asked to deal with one and a half times the volume of truck traffic with only 3 quarters the number of inspectors as a decade ago.”

The union also claims that the B.C. government fails to provide a complete picture of vehicle safety in the province – by only reporting the number of vehicles taken out-of-service (22.6 per cent) during the annual 72-hour June Road Check Inspection. If ticketed violations were included, the actual ‘fail’ rate would be much higher.

“Data gathered year-round by commercial vehicle inspectors show a combined out-of-service and violation fail rate of more than 70 per cent,” says Byron Goerz, chair of the BCGEU component that represents CVSE inspectors. “We can and should do more to keep B.C. roads safe.”

The BCGEU represents 187 CVSE Inspectors, working in portable units and at weigh scales. The inspectors are responsible for inspecting heavy commercial vehicles over 5,000 kg, and oversee private licensed inspection facilities across the province.

For more detailed information, please check the CVSE RoadSafe web site at:

Only a Big A** Tow Truck Will Do

When the weather catches you off guard, it is usually then that you discover those tires just are not cut out for driving on the hills of the Pacific North West. In times like that, only a “big-ass tow truck will do”, to borrow from Seattle’s James Lynch of Q13 Fox News, following a storm that struck this past January.
Well, when you find yourself in one of those situations, we can provide that tow truck. With trucks ranging from a 20-tonne wrecker right up to our 85-tonne side pull tridem wrecker, and our 30′ tilt-deck, we are certain to have a truck for any of your tow or recovery needs. Be sure to check out our Services Page to see what we offer.
With 24 hour dispatch, we can be where you need us. Call Quiring Towing.

When is a good day to NOT be driving?

Seven Deadly Driving Days Have High Number of Collisions and Fatalities

(Seattle, WA April 18, 2012) Seattle attorney Chris Davis and his research team at Davis Law Group have identified the seven deadly driving days for traffic collisions and fatalities.

In recent years, traffic safety experts have begun investigating what causes particular days of the year to be more dangerous for driving than others. Days that are popular for celebration, and therefore lead to increased alcohol consumption, are consistently at the top of the list.

A recent study led by Donald Redelmeier, a scientist at the University of Toronto, revealed that Tax Day can now be added to the list of most dangerous days for driving in the United States.

The results of the study, which looked at traffic accident data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, revealed that there were 6,783 fatal traffic accidents on Tax Day over the past 30 years. On average, 226 people are killed each year in traffic accidents on the day of the filing deadline.

“In general, specific days of the year that cause more stress for the American people are going to increase their risk of being involved in a fatal car accident,” says attorney Chris Davis of the Davis Law Group in Seattle. “When people are stressed, their attention tends to be focused on things other than driving, which makes them more dangerous behind the wheel.”

Despite a significant increase in electronic tax filings over recent years, the study shows that the option to file online has little to no effect on the spike of fatal accidents. In fact, there have been even more accidents during the decades in which electronic filing was available.

The seven days associated with higher rates of traffic collisions and fatalities include:

  • Tax Day Accidents: Approximately 13 more people die in traffic accidents each year on the day of the national tax deadline than on a typical day.
  • Super Bowl Sunday Accidents: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 50 percent of all traffic fatalities on Super Bowl Sunday are DUI-related.
  • Independence Day Accidents: The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that there is an approximate eight percent increase in number of traffic deaths on Independence Day.
  • Daylight Savings Accidents: A University of British Columbia (UBC) study found that people, on average, get approximately 40 minutes less sleep the night before Daylight Savings. This leads to decreased attention on the roads and increased risk of becoming distracted.
  • Thanksgiving Day Accidents: 502 people died in car accidents on Thanksgiving Day in 2008 – approximately 400 more traffic fatalities than on an average day.
  • Labor Day Accidents: There were 487 traffic fatalities in the U.S. on Labor Day in 2008.
  • New Year’s Eve/Day Accidents: Holiday parties lead to increased alcohol consumption, as these are some of the most popular days for consuming alcohol in the United States. Approximately 50 percent of all traffic fatalities on New Year’s are alcohol-related.

In addition to the seven individual days listed above, drivers should also be extremely cautious during the summertime; the days from Memorial Day to Labour Day are known as the ‘100 Deadly Days of Summer’ because of the significant increase in traffic accident fatalities during that span.

“Unfortunately, even if you are attentive behind the wheel there are other drivers out there who are not,” Davis adds. “It is important for drivers to be aware of the fact that certain days really are more dangerous for driving.”

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) says that from 2005 to 2009, more than 7,300 youths between the ages of 13 to 19 were killed in traffic crashes during the ‘100 Deadly Days.’ Experts attribute this to the fact that more young people are actively driving on the roadways, adding that the summer months typically lead to increases in alcohol consumption and driver distraction.

Slow Down And Move Over Law Comes Into Effect June 1 2009

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.

Another Way Technology Is Preventing Equipment Loss

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.

Introducing Our Towing Blog

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.