Kelowna tow truck owner urges road safety after death | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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Kelowna tow truck owner urges road safety after death

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November 22, 2018 - 4:57 PM

KELOWNA - A Kelowna woman is urging drivers to spare a thought for tow truck drivers working on the side of the road after her brother-in-law died in a tragic accident last weekend.

Wayne Kernachan, the owner of Keegz Country Towing in Castlegar, was driving home on Nov. 17 when he spotted a disabled vehicle on the side of the road. He activated his beacon lights and put on his high-visibility apparel to help the driver. Kernachan was removing some of the vehicle's debris when a truck, traveling at a high speed, struck him, inflicting fatal injuries.

Kernachan's death has hit the towing community hard. His sister-in-law, Darlene Moretto (co-owner of Mario's Towing Kelowna), is speaking out on tow truck operators' safety.

"Traffic is moving faster than it ever was," she said. "It's getting worse."

Moretto wants drivers to be cautious and safe when they see amber flashing lights on the side of the road. She says tow truck workers can't keep an eye on traffic at all times when they're working, so drivers need to give them a wide berth.

Moretto cited the Slow Down, Move Over law as something that can prevent accidents. The law requires drivers to reduce their speed and create space when they see flashing red, blue, or yellow lights. Unfortunately, Moretto doesn't think many people obey the law when it comes to tow truck workers.

"We have very little response to the law," she said.

Moretto suggests adding different coloured lights to tow trucks might encourage people to slow down. Ken McCormack, President of the Automotive Retailers Association, has been advocating for the addition of blue and white flashing lights to tow trucks. He thinks tow truck operators should be considered emergency responders.

"The typical motoring public has become immune to yellow lights," he said. "People aren't slowing down. These are preventable deaths."

"We hope [different lights] would help," Moretto said.

Moretto wants tow truck safety education to begin in licencing of drivers. She hopes if people understand the rules of the road, fewer accidents might occur.

"I would like people to recognize that there are human beings working on the road," she said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Sean Mott or call (250) 864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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