Tow-truck drivers perform a valuable service for stranded motorists, and they do it in all weather conditions, in all types of traffic, and on all kinds of roadways. They have one of the most dangerous jobs out there.
Last year, a tow-truck driver in Michigan was killed when a city bus, which had requested assistance, rolled over on top of him. Michigan Live reported that bus rolled off of the blocks and on top of the driver. This March, a tow-truck driver in Boston was fatally injured when a drunk driver hit him.
The risks to tow-truck drivers are severe. Approximately 60 tow-truck drivers die each year. The International Towing Museum in Chattanooga erected a Wall of the Fallen in 2006, “To honor 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.” It also maintains a Survivor Fund, for the families of drivers who have been killed while working.
Obeying the move-over law would help those who provide roadside assistance
Tow-truck drivers are often called to help someone whose tire is flat, someone who has run out of gas, or a driver who was involved in an accident. One tow-truck driver, Dennis Brewer, told Michigan Live that near misses are common. For example, he talked about how a tractor-trailer nearly missed hitting his flatbed which was on the far side of the road. Brewer had to hang on to the flatbed for dear life as the tractor-trailer whizzed by.
Some drivers, Brewer claims, seem to be aware of the danger to tow-truck drivers and still proceed without slowing down. Some tow-truck drivers park their vehicles near the tow-truck that is providing assistance just to minimize the risk of the tow-truck accidents.
In Tennessee, we do have a “move over” law, and the list of vehicles covered by that law has expanded. The list includes:
- Emergency services vehicles, such as police cars or ambulances
- Highway maintenance vehicles, such as pavers or millers
- Recovery vehicles, such as tow trucks
- Utility vehicles, such as natural gas or electrical trucks owned by utilities or by local or state governments
Violation of the move over law is usually a misdemeanor, but if someone is hurt or killed, the driver could face felony charges. Yet every day, drivers zip past tow trucks and other emergency services vehicles without changing lanes, putting those workers at risk.
At Bailey & Greer, PLLC, our lawyers treat clients like people, not case numbers. We will fight to ensure that the negligent party will be held accountable. To speak with respected Memphis truck accident lawyers, please phone us at 901-680-9777 or fill out our contact form. We represent clients in Memphis, Jackson, West Tennessee, and the nearby areas.