Towing, wrecker, roadside assistance, law enforcement and first responders continue to see a increasingly high number of work related deaths since the first “move over” law was enacted in South Carolina in 1996 after a paramedic died while responding to a crash. And sadly, just this week, Nader Chehadi, 42, of Ypsilanti, Michigan was killed while assisting a school bus when a SUV slammed into the back of the bus stopped on the roadside on the I-94.
Today, all 50 states have a form of the move over law requiring drivers to slow down and change lanes if it’s safe to do so when they see emergency vehicles, tow trucks and other types of first responders. However, even with these laws enacted, and with fines as high as $500 or even jail time, deaths continue to occur at an alarming rate. Case in point: According the the National Law Enforcement Officer Memorial Fund’s mid-year report, “Twenty-six officers have been killed in traffic-related fatalities this year, increasing 24 percent, compared to 21 deaths during the same period last year.”
And for the towing and roadside assistance industry, the numbers continue to increase each and every day. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that emergency responders–including tow truck drivers–injury and fatality rates are more than twice the national average for all industries. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics report detailing the “National Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries in 2016” states a total of 331 people were struck by a vehicle in a work zone since 2011–an average of 55 per year.
These numbers can be reduced significantly with education and spreading awareness to the general public about “Move Over” laws. Since 2011, it’s been our mission to help those in the towing and roadside assistance industry by generating quality leads for our clients, nationwide. We also share the need, working so closely in this industry, to do our part and spread the word via our social media channels and blog posts like this.
Please leave your comments below, and help us spread the message by providing some of your own experiences and on-the-job tips for motorists to abide by to help create awareness.