(originally published on waldo.villagesoup.com Feb 23, 2011)
There have been several stories across the Maine press recently about Maine’s “Move Over” law, so I thought I would add a personal perspective from someone who can “walk the talk” so to speak. The law was originally created to protect police and other emergency and roadside personnel from inattentive drivers. It is only in the last few years that this law (Title 29-A §2054) was expanded to cover tow truck drivers, and for good reason.
Tow truck operators are some of those people who are willing to go out in any kind of weather, any time of day or night, to help YOU when you need it. When you get a flat tire, run out of gas, lock yourself out of your car, slide into a ditch, get stuck on flat ground on ice or worse, if you crash your car, THEY are out there making sure that YOU are able to go home as quickly and safely as possible to your family.
Since 1999, our trucks or drivers have been hit six times due to driver inattention or deliberate negligence.
1999 – Our truck was hit from behind by another truck the same size while sitting in stopped traffic on I-95. Lights were flashing and it was daylight. The driver of the other vehicle died in the crash. Our driver was injured.
2006 – Our truck was rear-ended by a military Hummer, the lead vehicle in a convoy, after the driver fell asleep at the wheel. My husband was injured and our truck bed was destroyed. The soldier and his superior officer who was in the vehicle with him acknowledged that the soldier driving had not slept after doing drills all night, then drove several hours, resulting in his falling asleep at the wheel.
2007 – Another of our trucks was rear ended by a soldier on his way to drill in the early morning hours. No one was injured in this crash, but our truck was heavily damaged and he had no insurance.
2009 – Our driver was loading a car in a city area, so was in the traffic lane for a few minutes loading the broken down vehicle. An irate person who refused to wait until traffic cleared so that he could go around floored it, squishing our driver (my son) between the truck and his vehicle and ran over his foot. No charges were ever brought despite the fact that there was a witness and there was an injury to his foot.
2011 – One of our trucks was hit by a town plow truck who was too impatient to wait a few minutes for our driver to extricate a vehicle that was stuck. Rather than wait, he hit our vehicle and never stopped.
2011 – Our truck was unloading a vehicle next to a residence in the breakdown lane when an approaching vehicle “ramped” it, hitting our customer’s car as well as doing significant damage to our truck, then flipped and landed on its roof in the road. Fortunately, no one was injured very seriously. The driver of the car said they never saw the flashing led lights or the truck or people standing by the side of the road. If our driver (my son) and/or his customer had been on the street side of the truck, they most likely would have been killed.
Also of note, one of our colleagues’ trucks was hit a few weeks ago on I-95 in central Maine, destroying his truck as well as the vehicle that hit his.
Please remember that these people who are out helping you, your family, your friends also have a family. They are loved and they are out there so that you don’t have to be. Please show them the respect they deserve and when you see those yellow, red, or blue flashing lights, whether they be tow truck operators, construction workers, tree workers, utility workers, police, or fire and rescue personnel, PLEASE SLOW DOWN AND MOVE OVER so that they can return safely to their families, too. These men are my husband, my sons, my life. Please pay attention.
Some references to tragedies that didn’t have to happen:
Kenneth Moore, Age 27 – both feet amputated when crushed by car
David Lewis, Age 50 – lost his leg
Barry Best – badly bruised by hit and run motorist
These are only a few of the tragic accidents that have killed or maimed tow truck drivers solely due to inattentive drivers ignoring the flashing lights warning them that there are people doing a job on the side of the road.
Please come visit us at our Belmont facility where we are offering auto repair, Maine state inspections, new tires and as always 23-1/2 Hour Towing for Knox and Waldo Counties 365 days per year.