Little known fact: the tow truck was invented in 1916 by Ernest Holmes. He was inspired to create the invention after he was forced to pull a car out of a creek using blocks, ropes, and six men. Last December a Fairfax, Virginia (VA) tow truck operator, was killed by a motorist who veered onto the shoulder of the Capital Beltway striking the man. Recently more than 140 tow truck operators drove around a large portion of the Beltway to honor his memory and attempt to prevent similar crashes.
Many drivers know about the “move over law” that requires them to move to the left, if possible, when a police car is stopped on the shoulder. Virginia expanded the law to include tow trucks in 2010, but many drivers are not aware of that. “The red-and-blue lights are more respected than the amber lights out there,” said Richard Webster Jr., the Northern Virginia regional trainer for the Virginia Department of Transportation.
The “move over law” states that drivers are legally required to move into the next lane or slow down by 20 mph if an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the highway. The financial penalty for breaking the law is a ticket up to $2500. However the true cost of violating this law could be someone’s life as in the case of the tow truck driver.
As Virginia (VA) car accident injury attorneys we have helped many victims of car accidents who were injured after a careless driver struck them on the side of the road. Police and emergency workers jobs are dangerous enough and the public services these dedicated professionals provide are invaluable. They should not have to take their lives in their hands every time they step outside their vehicles along the roadside.