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Tow truck driver dies when pinned under car.

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 08MI095, 2009 Jul; :1-10
On August 7, 2008, a 52-year-old male tow truck driver was critically injured when he was pinned under a vehicle he was attempting to start. A vehicle driver had pulled off to the side of the road after he thought he had run out of gas. The driver called for assistance and the decedent was dispatched to the site. After the decedent placed gas in the gas tank, the vehicle still did not start. The decedent made two attempts to jump start the vehicle by attaching jumper cables to the battery. Both attempts were unsuccessful. The decedent then laid on the ground in front of the vehicle to place power directly to the starter by attaching a jumper cable to the side of the starter that had a small wire on it, bypassing the gear selector. When power was supplied to the starter, the engine turned over and the vehicle lurched forward, apparently still in gear. The vehicle driver attempted to stop the forward movement of the vehicle by grabbing the front bumper, but was unsuccessful. The driver then ran to the driver's side and placed the vehicle in park. The driver tried to locate a jack on the tow truck, but could not find one. Another driver who drove by the scene stopped and called for emergency response on the CB in the tow truck. Emergency response arrived and pushed the vehicle off of the decedent. He was transported to a local hospital where he died four days later from his injuries. Recommendations: 1.) Tow and recovery companies should require all drivers to successfully complete a recognized tow driver certification course and/or ensure that the individuals providing tow driver training complete a recognized course. 2.) Tow and recovery companies should develop a training checklist to document topics covered and review the driver's demonstration of competence in each training area. 3.) Tow truck drivers should ensure that all safety equipment, including jacks and blocking (e.g. wheel chocks) is present on trucks before responding to a call. 4.) Tow and recovery companies should hold regularly scheduled safety meetings that address tow safety issues and document the content and attendance. 5.) National/state tow associations should develop a model safety and health program and training checklists which address the hazards unique to towing and recovery operations to assist tow/recovery companies in their health and safety program development, implementation, and training. 6.) City and county governmental agencies, road service assistance providers, and other entities who may sign tow service agreements should include contract language that requires the tow service owner to ensure that the tow truck drivers who respond to calls have completed an approved or nationally accredited tow truck driver training program.
Region-5; Accident-analysis; Accident-potential; Accident-prevention; Accidents; Injuries; Injury-prevention; Occupational-accidents; Occupational-safety-programs; Safety-education; Safety-measures; Safety-monitoring; Safety-practices; Safety-programs; Training; Traumatic-injuries; Truck-drivers; Work-operations; Work-practices; Motor-vehicles; Author Keywords: Tow truck; Pinned
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-08MI095; Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U60-OH-008466
Priority Area
Wholesale and Retail Trade; Services
SIC Code
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Performing Organization
Michigan State University
Page last reviewed: December 17, 2021
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division