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Tow truck operator dies when car being driven by intoxicated driver leaves road and strikes him.

Michigan State University
Morgantown, WV: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, FACE 05MI045, 2006 Jan; :1-4
On February 11, 2005, a 34-year-old male tow truck driver was killed when a car driven by an intoxicated individual left the roadway and hit him. The victim positioned the tow truck in front of the disabled car, which had a flat tire. Both the tow truck and disabled car were on the east shoulder of the road, facing north. The tow truck beacon lights were activated. The victim was operating a flatbed-style tow truck. He tilted the bed down and attached the cables to the car. While he was on his cell phone, he asked the customer for his keys so he could place the car's transmission into neutral. He instructed the customer to go on the passenger side of the tow truck and sit in the truck cab. It is unknown if the victim was getting into or out of the car on the driver's side; the car door was open. A northbound car, driven by an intoxicated individual, left the roadway and struck the disabled car on the driver's rear side. The northbound car struck the victim, and then flipped over, landing on its roof several yards north of the incident scene. The disabled vehicle may have hit the tow truck causing it to overturn and enter a nearby ditch. Emergency response was called. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene. Recommendations: 1. Tow truck operators should place portable emergency warning devices such as reflective triangles on the roadway shoulder to alert oncoming traffic. 2. Tow truck operators should wear appropriate personal protective equipment, such as high visibility vests. 3. Employers should consider developing a cell phone usage policy and instructing employees regarding the cell phone policy. 4. Operators should use the tow truck controls located on the shoulder side of the road.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-practices; Safety-measures; Traumatic-injuries; Work-practices; Work-analysis; Work-environment; Work-operations; Work-performance; Truck-drivers; Warning-devices; Warning-signals; Warning-systems; Alcoholic-beverages; Intoxication
Publication Date
Document Type
Field Studies; Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation
Funding Type
Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
FACE-05MI045; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-521205
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division