Last night, a tow truck driver was struck and killed on I-76, locally known as the Schuylkill Expressway, just outside of Philadelphia. He was continuing to clean up after a previous accident on that busy roadway when a vehicle struck him. The driver fled and was later apprehended by PA State Police.
Three nights ago, a 43 year old wrecker driver was on the side of the Will Rogers Turnpike in Oklahoma when he was struck and killed instantly by a semi. Of the wrecker driver, Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Trent Short, said, “He was doing everything right. His truck was positioned off the roadway, he had safety cones set up and there’s no need for this.”
On Wednesday, January 10, a tow truck driver was hit and killed while loading a vehicle on his truck on northbound Dixie Highway near the Bridgeport exit in Saginaw County, Michigan. The 49-year old driver of the striking vehicle was charged with DUI among other offenses.
It is estimated that between 55 and 60 tow truck drivers are killed each year across the US while on the job. To put it in perspective, that statistic is roughly on par with firefighters killed in the line of duty each year. Firefighters train constantly to protect themselves and each other while on the scene of a working fire, Sometimes roof or floor collapses are as tragic as they are unavoidable. But, it our line of work, tragedy is often very avoidable. However, we little to no influence in that regard. On the scene of a tow, often there is no “team.” It is just one man and a wrecker. And, as happened in Oklahoma last week, setting up safety cones and properly positioning the truck may not even be enough to stay safe. You see, we rely on all of you to keep us safe. We need your help. We need you to slow down and move over. Someone’s father did not come home last night because a driver failed to execute that simple task.