A new study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is showing just how dangerous roadside emergency or tow truck work is.
For every 100,000 tow workers, there are 43 deaths, the study found.
According to AAA 10 people in Oregon were killed in crashes while outside a disabled vehicle from 2016 through 2020. Nationwide, 1,703 were killed in that same timeframe, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System.
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AAA says its survey of tow workers, emergency responders, and road maintenance workers found 60% had experienced a near miss while working at the roadside, while 15% had survived being hit by a passing vehicle.
Every state has a “Slow Down Move Over” law. It basically means that if you’re approaching a disabled or emergency vehicle on the shoulder, you need to move out of the adjacent lane. If you can’t, slow down until you’re well past the incident.
But AAA says driver awareness and compliance with those laws are inconsistent. It notes that at freeway speeds of 65 mph or more, drivers may find it difficult to spot an incident on the side of the road and react in a timely fashion.
While slowing down and moving over is the law, people stopped on the road should also use lights and flares to alert other drivers.