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Two tow truck drivers killed when struck in a highway breakdown lane.

Massachusetts Department of Health
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 04MA005, 2006 May; :1-10
On February 20, 2004, two male tow truck operators (the victims), ages 23 and 24, were fatally injured when a passing car struck them as they stood in the breakdown lane of a major interstate highway. Victim #1, the 23-year-old, was returning to the company office after towing a car with a conventional tow truck to a drop off location a few towns away. Victim #1 pulled into the breakdown lane when he noticed the tow truck's alternator light was on and radioed the company office for help. Victim #2, responding to the call for help, drove a flatbed tow truck to the incident location. Both victims were standing on the left side of the trucks parked in the breakdown lane when a passing motorist crossed into the breakdown lane striking both victims and both trucks. A call was placed for emergency medical services (EMS) by passing motorists and EMS responded to the scene within minutes. Victim #1 was pronounced dead at the scene and victim #2 was transported to a local hospital were he was pronounced dead. The Massachusetts Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE) Program concluded that to prevent similar occurrences in the future, employers should: 1. Ensure that employees use the tow equipment control levers located on the side of the tow truck farthest from approaching traffic; 2. Ensure that employees use portable emergency warning devices to help alert approaching motorists of the stopped emergency vehicles ahead; 3. Supply and ensure that employees wear appropriate personal protective equipment, including high visibility vests when working along highways and streets; 4. Develop, implement, and enforce standard operating procedures (SOP) for responding to highway and street incidents that include minimizing time spent on the side of the vehicle that is closest to approaching traffic; and 5. Develop, implement, and enforce a comprehensive safety program that includes training on hazard recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions. In addition, policymakers should consider the feasibility of enacting a "mover law".
Region-1; Accident-analysis; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Traumatic-injuries; Work-operations; Work-analysis; Work-areas; Work-performance; Work-practices; Safety-education; Safety-equipment; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Protective-measures; Training; Equipment-operators; Truck-drivers; Warning-systems; Warning-devices
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-04MA005; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-CCU-108704
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Massachusetts Department of Health
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division