An average of 24 rescue workers, including towing services, are hit and killed by vehicles every year while working on the roadside
VANCOUVER – As of September this year, at least 16 towing services died in road rescue operations in 2021. On average, 24 rescue workers, including towers, are hit by vehicles and killed while working on the side of the road. This means that, on average, someone in this industry is killed every other week.
To protect these roadside heroes, drivers with disabled vehicles, and to improve road safety, Target Zero reminds us:
- Be vigilant, avoid distractions, and focus on the driving task while you are out on the roads.
- Watch and listen to emergency vehicles, tow trucks, commercial vehicles or disabled vehicles parked on the side of the road.
- If spotted, slow down and, if safe, take a lane to clear the much-needed space for the people on the curb.
It’s the law
When drivers approach the flashing red lights of first responders, tow trucks, municipal vehicles, utility vehicles, and road maintenance officers, the law requires them to slow down to at least 10 mph below the stated speed limit and, if it is safe to do so, move across a lane. Drivers who do not obey the law can expect a $ 214 ticket, which is neither waiver nor discounted.
Amazing new data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that:
- Almost a quarter of respondents (23 percent) are unfamiliar with the move-over law in the state they live in.
- Of those who are familiar with their state’s Move Over laws, about 15 percent say they don’t understand the potential consequences of violating the Move Over Act.
- 42 percent of drivers who do not always obey the Move Over laws thought their behavior was somewhat or not at all dangerous for emergency services on the side of the road. This shows that motorists may not realize how risky it is for those who work near the moving traffic.
Remember, it’s not just rescue workers and tow truck drivers who get killed on freeways, freeways, and freeways. AAA reported that from 2015 to 2019, more than 1,600 people were hit and killed while outside a disabled vehicle, 22 in Washington, 7 in Idaho.
The reality is that drivers are becoming increasingly distracted while driving. The WTSC’s observational study found that distractions such as eating, turning on the radio, or caring for pets or children had increased significantly.
“Drivers can dangerously lose their focus on other activities that shift their focus and dedication from driving what the E-DUI Act calls ‘dangerously distracted’,” said Jessie Knudsen, manager of Target Zero. “Any kind of distraction increases the risk of an accident. Studies show that after concentrating on something else, it can take you almost 30 seconds to regain your attention on the road, even for a few seconds. ”
Combine this with a handicapped or emergency vehicle on the side of the road and we have a situation that could end traumatically.
The national distracted driver rate increased from 6.8 percent in 2019 to 9.4 percent last year, according to WTSC’s 2020 Distracted Driving Observation Survey. The distracted driving behavior on the streets of the city increased from one in ten drivers to almost one in five. The distraction of drivers on the county roads has doubled.
Shelly Baldwin, director of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission, said, “We can all work together to promote focused driving. Together we can make our roads safer. When you’re behind the wheel, put your phone away. If you are a passenger, speak politely to encourage the driver to stay focused. As a parent, set rules and set a good example. If we all do our part, we can prevent accidents caused by distracted driving. ”
Most Washingtoners obey the law, Target Zero officials require us to work together to reach 100 percent and save each other’s lives.
For more pictures and information about the dangers tow truck drivers and other road workers face, visit AAA.com/SlowDown. For more information from Target Zero to distracted driving, see Distracted Driving – WA Drive to Zero
Earlier this year, AAA Washington (in partnership with Clark County Fire District 6 and Chappelle’s Towing, LLC.) Issued a Public Service Announcement (PSA) to remind the public of Washington’s Slow Down, Move Over law. Along with WSDOT and WSP, TLC Towing was one of the six private companies that contributed to the creation of the video.