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20 drivers caught blowing past tow truck set up by Burnaby highway

Burnaby RCMP, BCAA initiative designed to remind people to slow down and pull over when they see flashing lights beside a highway

Police and tow truck drivers teamed up in Burnaby Thursday to remind drivers to slow down and pull over when they see a tow truck with flashing lights on beside the road.

BCAA set up a tow truck with its flashing lights activated and a vehicle attached to it beside Lougheed Highway by Kingsland Drive.

Members of Burnaby RCMP’s traffic section were stationed a short distance away and pulled over drivers who failed to slow down.

“It’s a simple message here today,” Burnaby RCMP spokesperson Mike Kalanj said. “If you see flashing red, blue or yellow lights on the roadway, slow down and, if you can move over, do so. If a $173 fine isn’t enough motivation, then think about the worker that’s behind that flashing light who wants to get home to their family at the end of the day.”

Chris Bernaerts, who’s been a tow truck driver with BCAA for four years, said he’s had a passing vehicle get so close its side mirror has brushed his arm, and some of his coworkers have actually been clipped by passing vehicles.

Bernaerts said drivers already have to contend with a lot of safety considerations just to operate their trucks, and having to keep one eye on traffic is almost too much to handle.

“We need the cooperation of the public to meet us half way and make sure that we can all get home safely at the end of the day,” he said.

Police pulled over 20 drivers in total Thursday, according to Kalanj.

All got warnings, he said, except one new driver who failed to slow down and pull over for the tow truck and then failed to stop for police.The driver was also ticketed for not displaying an N.

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor