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How many tow operators in the us?


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01-09-2018: myerstowing wrote,


I was looking to see if there is any current census data in regards to how many tow truck operators are employed in the United States.  In comparison to other dangerous occupations, the statistics are compared in a per 100,000 workers formula.  It is hard to compare the danger of the towing industry when there isn't a good number for comparison.  For instance the easy ones to find are; truck drivers 3.5 million (multiple sources), 750,000 sworn police officers, 1,160,000 firefighters, 245,000 paramedics and so forth.  Do you think we are categorized under truck drivers?  In California our Workers Compensation code designates a class for "towing" so why isn't there data in regards to the number of tow truck operators? 


KL said:

Here's a slightly educated guess. By NAICS code #488410 there are 18,939 tow companies in the U.S. By NAICS 4 digit segment #4884 the companies within that segment average 8.5 employees per company. So best guess would be 18,339 x 8.5 = 155,882 tow company employees. Of course this number does not capture data from companies whose primary business is not towing for example a body shop or trucking company nor does it differentiate between types of employees i.e. drivers vs. dispatchers, etc.


MaP said:

Latest figures I could find are for second quarter 2017, NAICS code 488410 "Motor Vehicle Towing." For total U.S., there are 9,258 towing businesses employing 62,707 with average weekly wage of $725.


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So based on the supplied information we have the following data to make educated assumptions:


63,000 tow truck operators


60 tow truck operator deaths annually https://internationaltowingmuseum.org/survivor-fund/


95.2 Deaths per 100,000 workers


Time.com recently posted the "Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America" http://time.com/5074471/most-dangerous-jobs/


                                                                                 Fatal Injuries          Total Deaths

                                                                             per 100,000 workers   


Logging workers




Fishers and related fishing workers




Aircraft pilots and flight engineers








Trash and recycling collectors




Iron and steel wokers




Truck and sales drivers




Farmers, ranchers, and other agricultural managers




First-line supervisors of construction trades and extraction workers




Grounds maintenance workers






It appears that we would be included as the second most dangerous job in America.  


What does that mean for our industry?  What does that say about our incentive programs?  What are the impacts to our hiring practices?  How could this shape our rate structures?  Where is our visibility to the general and motoring public?


Just with these numbers, the towing industry deserves a statistical, professional census performed to better serve our interests.


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  • 1 year later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hey BIlly ... I've been studying that number for years. I personally think there's no accurate accounting based on the many tow related venues or business types towing and recovery companies are listed under while they respond in a tow truck, i.e., repo, salvage, law enforcement, PPI, insurance hauling, long-hauling etc, full time and part time.  Only until recently, tow operator or tow involved statistics have been recorded, but there are historical fatalities (recorded or known) since 1934. If you ever come up with an accurate number that can truly reflect ALL of the tow operators in the states ... please share it with us. Thanks.    R. 

Randall C. Resch

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  • 2 years later...

Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs of 2020

Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs of 2020

These are the most dangerous occupations in the U.S., as measured by fatal work injury rate.


The first question one might ask when examining a list of the United States’ most dangerous occupations is: How high on the list did nursing home and healthcare workers place on the list, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?


That’s a great question, but we won’t know the answer to that for a couple years. This list, as in years past, is based on workplace fatality data compiled by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and their data lags the current year by two years. In other words, this list is based on 2018 workplace data, so it will be a while until we know how seriously COVID-19 impacted healthcare workers. (In 2018, though, healthcare professionals were near the very bottom of the list.)


Again, as in years past, this list of the Top 10 most dangerous jobs is based on fatal work injury rate, which is calculated per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. While the BLS also tracks total number of workplace deaths (as usual, truck drivers led the list), the fatal work injury rate factors in the relative danger inherent in a job. Since there are far more truck drivers employed than many of the other occupations on the list, the Top 10 list offers a closer look at exactly how often a worker dies while employed in a specific industry.


There was some movement in the rankings compared to last year. For instance, the number one and number two slots switched places. And slots 6-10 are all different from last year. Also, Electrical Power-Line Installers and Repairers dropped off the Top 10 (unlike Casey Kasem’s legendary Top 10, when you fall off this list, it’s a good thing), and a new occupation joined the list: First-Line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers.


1. Logging Workers

97.6 fatal work injury rate; 56 fatalities


2. Fishers and Related Fishing Workers

77.4 fatal work injury rate; 30 fatalities


3. Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers

58.9 fatal work injury rate; 70 fatalities


4. Roofers

51.5 fatal work injury rate; 96 fatalities


5. Refuse and Recyclable Material Collectors

44.3 fatal work injury rate; 37 fatalities


6. Truck Drivers and Other Drivers

26.0 fatal work injury rate; 966 fatalities


7. Farmers, Ranchers and Agricultural Managers

24.7 fatal work injury rate; 257 fatalities


8. Structural Iron and Steel Workers

23.6 fatal work injury rate; 15 fatalities


9. First-line Supervisors of Construction Trades and Extraction Workers

21.0 fatal work injury rate; 144 fatalities


10. First-line Supervisors of Landscaping, Lawn Service and Groundskeeping Workers

20.2 fatal work injury rate; 48 fatalities


Source: Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs of 2020 | EHS Today (opens in a new tab) (Also links to 2 previous year’s data)

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