Common Cause: Canada’s collision community should stand with tow operators

Toronto, Ontario — On November 13, a black bear was struck by a tow truck driver near Owen Sound.

The news was reported by the in a November 16th article—two days later.

In it, an Owen Sound Police community service reporter is quoted delivering the sad news.

“When the police arrived on the scene, they realized that the bear has succumbed to its injuries as a result of the collision.”

On November 7, a driver struck and killed Todd Burgess, a towing professional working on an infamously dangerous stretch of road near Scugog, Ontario.

The CBC website story on Burgess was posted on November 13—almost a full week after his death.

The crux of the story wasn’t actually his death, but his funeral. During the service, more than 200 fellow industry workers had participated in a ride-through to draw attention to the dangers faced by towing professionals.

My point isn’t to criticize the CBC for its coverage of the towing community. In fact, as news outlets go, it covers these stories well, fairly and with a balance not seen elsewhere. In fact, CBC radio reached out to us for advice on covering the issues that plague roadside operators and indicated a desire to highlight the issue—something no other publication did.

Nor am I foolish enough to throw stones in my own glass house. There are sometimes good reasons to delay–and in this case, we held back on running the story of Todd’s death until it was reasonable to assume his close friends or family members would have been informed.

My point is that there is a lack of interest in covering stories about the dangers facing members of the auto aftermarket figures. There is reader interest in stories where tow truck drivers strike photogenic animals.

The towing community members who came out to raise awareness of the dangers facing roadside recovery vehicle worker s managed to redress this imbalance.

They should be applauded.

Tow truck operators play a vital role in Canada’s auto aftermarket. In fact, towing and recovery work could be described as a sister industry of auto repairing.

When it comes to highlighting the dangers facing roadside recovery professionals, we should all be on the same page—it is time we raised hell.

The Wall of the Fallen:

Since 2006, the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum (ITRHFM) has supported an on-site monument to towing operators killed on the road.

The Wall of the Fallen’s mission statement reads: “To honour those who have made the ultimate sacrifice, to generate public awareness of the dangers involved in the towing and recovery industry and to permanently record and commemorate those involved in fatalities in the towing and recovery industry.”

The Museum website also contains an archive of obituaries for fallen towing professionals.

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