According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), accident data from 2010 indicates that occupational injuries and fatalities of tow truck drivers are twice the national average of other industries.
This does not surprise tow truck driver Graham Paine of G.A. Smith Towing, who told The Patriot-News that getting hit by motorists is a regular occurrence for tow truck drivers.
“It’s not a week goes by that I don’t hear of someone being killed doing this work,” he said. “I’ve never been hit, but I’ve been close a few times.”
One recent example of the dangers faced by tow truck drivers occurred in Pennsylvania when a 23-year-old tow truck driver was killed on Route 581 in a trucking accident. According to state police, the accident occurred when a tractor trailer hit the tow truck operator as he was loading a pickup truck onto the flatbed.
In order to keep tow truck drivers – and other emergency workers, such as paramedics, fire fighters and police officers – safe on the roads, Georgia recently passed the Move-Over Law. Under this measure, drivers are required to move over one lane if there is an emergency vehicle on the shoulder of the highway with its lights flashing. If traffic does not allow drivers to do this safely, they must slow down below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop.
Serious automobile accidents are just one kind of danger that tow truck drivers face on the job. These workers must also be concerned about getting cut by jagged surfaces of vehicles wrecked in accidents; slipping and falling when working in inclement weather; and getting hurt when working in dangerous neighborhoods.
In addition, tow truck drivers who work in the repossession and impound industry face unique dangers from irate car owners. It is not unusual for these workers to get threatened with knives and guns and even attacked by dogs.
If you are a tow truck driver who has been injured on the job, you may be eligible to receive worker’s compensation to cover your medical expenses. Also, if you’ve been hit by a motorist while working, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the driver of the automobile. Consult an experienced personal injury lawyer who can explain all the options available.
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