A deadly accident on I-95 in Wilson County, North Carolina (NC), tragically illustrates why all drivers must know and follow the state's move over law. The crash, which claimed the life of a wrecker operator from Rocky Mount, occurred on the afternoon of December 1, 2014. Police believe the at-fault driver was speeding, using the emergency strip between the right-hand traffic lane and shoulder as a through lane, and falling asleep at the wheel.
According to WTVD, the tow truck driver was killed as he responded to a call to assist a family whose minivan had broken down and become stuck by the side of the interstate near the N.C. 42 Wilson/Clayton exit. The driver who hit him was subsequently charged with causing a death, failing to move over and driving recklessly. North Carolina's law requiring drivers to change lanes or slow down when approaching police involved in a traffic stop also covers emergency medical technicians and tow truck operators.
Federal statistics cited by the television station indicate that while 12 law enforcement officers dies in roadside accidents each year, "60 towing and recovery professionals are killed" in such wrecks.
Many irresponsible actions appear to have combined to produce this sad outcome in central North Carolina. Most people understand that driving along a highway shoulder can lead to accident causing injuries and deaths. Fewer recognize the risks of getting behind the wheel without getting enough sleep. And far too few individuals seem to understand that they have legal and ethical obligations to give emergency responders enough room to do their jobs safely.
My Carolina wrongful death attorney colleagues and I send our heartfelt condolences out to the friends and family members of the deceased tow truck operator. We also hope anyone learning of this preventable loss of life takes away the lesson that they must act to protect the safety of those who work every day to protect and serve them.