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Tow Truck Drivers make a plea (MO)


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Tow truck drivers plead for people to slow down, move over



KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- On Saturday night, the community came together to remember a local tow truck driver killed last year while loading a vehicle on a highway.


Now, tow truck drivers are pleading for drivers to slow down and move over.


Highways can be a very dangerous place, especially if your job requires you to work alongside it. Bob Cradit would know. He’s been working in the tow truck operating industry for nearly 34 years and has seen a scary trend.


“It’s taken a job that’s used to be fun and you’re kind of nervous on the side of the highway,” he said. “We are losing an operator nationwide. We lose an operator once every six days.”


Yes, once every six days, according to the Towing and Recovery Association of America.”


Why so many fatalities? Tow truck operators said it’s distracted drivers, impaired drivers, and those failing to obey the “slow down, move over” law on the highways.


“If you watch, I can put a police car behind a tow truck,” Cradit said. “They’ll move over all day long. That police car goes away and they don’t know we are there.”


Cradit said police try to be there as much as they can, but they aren’t always available.


This evening, the towing community gathered to remember one of their own: 39-year-old John “Johnny” Stewart.

“He was a great guy,” said Matthew Arevalo, who was his close friend. “Very loving, very respectful. He never meant anybody no harm.”


Johnny was hit and killed last year by a suspected drunk driver near I-35 and N. Brighton Ave. as he was loading a stranded vehicle on his truck.


Tonight’s lights flashed in memory of Johnny, but it was also a way to spread a message.


“We want people to slow down and move over for the tow truck drivers working on the side of the road to make sure they go home at the end of the night,” Arevalo said.


RESOURCE LINK with video

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Sorry Ron, I agree that the video was a great awareness message for the 5 o'clock news viewers, but why, WHY in anyone's right mind would a tow operator intentionally stand in a live, full-speed ahead traffic lane ... even if it's to make a video? This tower's on-scene actions (or lack thereof) are some of the repeated reasons towers are killed working the white-line. This driver says, "This right here is my safe zone; I'm safe right here, I'm not over-here". I personally believe that his comments represents a deadly mentality to suggests there's NO safe zone when working  a highway's shoulder and worst yet, anywhere near the white-line. I do salute Mr. Cradit's comments on the problem that towers face, but until towers realize that SDMO laws aren't effective, towers will continue to be killed. I personally think that the first and last portions of the video are proactive, while the middle section clearly demonstrates that tow operators consciously continue to take chances by not working the non-traffic side. This tow truck driver has taken his focus off of vehicle loading only to shift focus on what approaching motorists are doing? When my wife watched the video with me she asked, "Why's he standing in the traffic lane?


I believe these actions show many of the industry's, "Deadly Sin's", like, not escorting your customer into the tow truck's cab, no cones, no flares, operator's back to traffic, hooking up on the white-line side, etc. There's personally a lot of things wrong with this video, yet I think it's a great training tool on what NOT to do. And, in the latter part of the video when the cop car goes by and hits the siren, does the siren announce a, "Howdy Pardner", salutation to the waving tow truck driver, to stop a car that failed to slow down move over, OR, was it sent to tell the tow truck driver to get out of the freakkin' traffic lanes?


As a safety instructor who teaches industry standard training, I'll respectfully debate this video's content all day long. I only like the video because it sends a proactive message of SDMO to the motoring public. But, on the industry's side, I feel the video definitely is a scary one showing a tow operator taking unnecessary chances. If I were a newbie to the industry, would I think it's OK to work the white-line side, or, is it OK to stand in a live-lane all because I'm wearing a vest and my truck's amber flashing lights are on? As Mr. Cradit mentioned, "It's taken a job that used to be fun; you're kinda' nervous when you're working the side of the highway." I couldn't agree more ... man that was difficult for me to watch.   R.

Edited by rreschran
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Randall C. Resch

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