Last night, a man was doing his job helping another in need when he lost his life unnecessarily. The man was a tow truck operator here on the Main Line. He had responded to an accident scene on I-76 and getting ready to wrap things up on the shoulder of the roadway when he was struck. He was pronounced dead later at the hospital. The driver, making his second terrible decision of the night, fled and was later apprehended by PA State Police.
This is tragic. It is terrible that a father is unable to come home to his two young children; a husband cannot come home to his wife. What is more tragic is the frequency with which this replicates itself across the country. A tow truck operator is killed in the US roughly once every six days. An estimated 55-60 tow truck operators will be struck and killed this year simply doing their jobs. And why?
Three days ago, this story played out in Oklahoma when a wrecker driver was struck and killed instantly by a semi as he was on the scene of a tow on the Will Rogers Turnpike. An Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper named Trent Short was said in an interview, “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.”
We could not agree more. There is no need for this when all it takes is a very baseline level of attention paid by drivers to what is happening on the road. We mention the term baseline, because this is not like avoiding a deer jumping out from behind a bush. These men were next to large vehicles with bright flashing lights. Move Over and Steer Clear laws clearly state that drivers need to give first responder vehicles a buffer lane when lights are flashing. This includes police, fire, EMS and yes tow vehicles.
Our thoughts are with the family of our fellow tow operator today. Unfortunately, the statistics say that in 6 days, our thoughts will be with the family of another.