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Roadside Safety: Law Enforcement Assisting


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Show us your images of Law Enforcement taking the time to assist in roadside safety. Forcing vehicles to Slow Down & Move Over since too many cannot do this on their own. The Towing Industry appreciates all Law Enforcement Officers who take a few moments too assist. Statistics show that this changes the number of tow operators killed each year. Sadly I hear far too often companies telling their drivers not to stop behind another company. Just today I saw an owner state publicly he does not permit his drivers to block for each other. He stated this makes the scene more dangerous.


The company in the photo now sends another unit to assist with traffic.ency  This does not mean blocking a lane, this is blocking the path of a vehicle which may drift into the emergency lane. The emergency lane in the photo is narrow and while the company did have another unit on scene as shown. A call to Law Enforcement for assistance would have been warranted. Even if you do complete the hook up prior to a marked unit arriving at least the call was made and they can be cancelled.





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I can understand why an owner would mandate that his drivers not stop and block traffic for another operator. In the event of an accident, they do not have a leg to stand on. If your vehicle gets hit, who is going to pay, and who is going to be charged with the accident? If a situation is deemed unsafe by the operator, they should make the call to request that law enforcement assist in blocking traffic. If they refuse to assist, then the call should be refused. It is far better to refuse the call rather than put your staff as well as equipment at risk. It is not the towing companies fault that the driver or operator is in distress. You, as an operator, are in no absolute duty to respond to a request for service if you believe it will place you in harms way. You should have the mental capacity to initiate a plan of attack to mitigate the risk and proceed with a justifiable risk to complete/clear the call.


I always like to play the what if game. What if the Dodge is sideswiped by a passing vehicle. What degree of pure comparative negligence is that driver, of the Dodge, responsible for. If he gets hit, and is staged over the white line, he will get dinged for factors contributing to the cause of the accident. Even with the police car behind him. Unless he has one on the hook. If the police vehicle is blocking traffic, what is the purpose of having another vehicle, another set of flashing lights, and another soul at risk on the side of the road?   What If someone slides into the operator who is engaged in some sort of activity in the traffic side of the roadway? This is the kill zone. This is where you are the most vulnerable to becoming the next operator to die. It does not appear that you have arms long enough to reach over to secure the vehicle on the deck in this picture. Why do we continue to place ourselves in vulnerable situations and predicaments? all it would take to initiate a chain reaction in this case is for an inattentive driver to make a sudden lane change and pit out a vehicle to their left, and start the chain reaction collision.  


I feel that complacency is the number one killer of operators in this industry. You as an operator are solely responsible for your safety. The move over law is not going to stop a careening hunk of pig iron and plastic. Operators making sound decisions based on experience, knowledge, education, and training will quite possibly save your life. Believing that a police car blocking a lane does indeed mitigate the risk, but it does not give you a free pass to be in the kill zone and expect an absolute excemption from physics if things go bad.

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It's my opinion that a vehicle can be loaded onto a flatbed carrier entirely from the non-traffic side. If that means a two-point tie-down is attached initially and then moving to a safe location to complete tie-down to four points, standing on the white-line is a sure receipe for disaster. GoodMichael's words are spot on accurate and I also believe that law enforcement should be on-scene, but their police presence still does not guarantee that approaching traffic will slow down or move over. Blocking is a process I believe in, yet too many owners cite liability as the key issue that boils down to dollar signs over common sense.     R.

Randall C. Resch

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