DAVE ROSS

State lawmaker hopes to address concerns over ‘dangerous’ conditions for tow truck drivers

Jan 28, 2022, 11:17 AM
Tow truck drivers...
Tow trucks lifting a semi-truck off the road. (WSDOT, Flickr Creative Commons)
(WSDOT, Flickr Creative Commons)

In November of 2021, tow truck drivers issued a plea to state lawmakers for more protection on Washington roadways. Republican State Sen. Jeff Wilson is hoping to answer those calls with a pair of bills this legislative session.

Washington tow truck drivers beg state lawmakers for more protection on roads

Washington already has what’s known as the “Slow Down, Move Over” law, which requires drivers to move over a lane when passing any emergency or construction zone. That zone extends for 200 feet on either side of the area. If you can’t safely get over, you are required to slow your speed to 10 miles an hour below the posted speed limit. Violators can be fined $214 if ticketed.

Despite that, tow truck drivers have pointed to numerous incidents over the past year where their colleagues have been killed by drivers of other vehicles violating that law. In one incident last April, tow truck operator Art Anderson had pulled over to the side of I-5 near Kelso to help a family with its disabled car. While he was providing assistance, a suspected drunk driver slammed into them, killing Anderson and two members of the family.

“The last year, our driving behavior has resulted in record fatalities,” Sen. Wilson told KIRO Newsradio’s Dave Ross. “We know things are getting more dangerous out there.”

One of Wilson’s bills — SB 5907 — would address this issue by requiring new driver training curriculum that emphasizes the state’s “Slow Down, Move Over” law, while adding signage and electronic display boards along freeways to further inform the public of the law’s requirements. It also would have the Department of Licensing collaborate with the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to “develop a statewide public awareness campaign.”

WSDOT head says vaccine mandate had no impact on recent pass closures

“My bill has an educational component that’s going to require us to look at ways to re-educate people that seek a driver’s license,” Wilson said. “They need to understand what this law means — that alone may prevent something, just by being aware of one of the laws already on the books.”

Another common refrain from tow truck drivers involves the ability to use different colored lights to make their vehicles more visible. Currently, they can only use red or yellow lights, but some have argued that blue lights would stand out more.

Wilson’s other bill — SB 5635 — would allow tow trucks to begin using rear-facing blue lights while stopped at the scene of an emergency or accident.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

Dave Ross on KIRO Newsradio 97.3 FM
  • listen to dave rossTune in to KIRO Newsradio weekdays at 5am for Dave Ross on Seattle's Morning News.

Dave's Commentary

Dave Ross

awe...
Dave Ross

Ross: An odyssey of awe, a leaky ceiling and the power of self-confidence

Three weeks ago, Colleen and I interviewed researcher Dacher Keltner on the subject of Awe – which he defines as follows.
2 days ago
ticketmaster...
Dave Ross

Ross: Ticketmaster’s monopoly challenged in congressional hearing

Members of a Senate committee – Republican and Democrat seemed to agree at yesterday’s hearing that Ticketmaster has become a monopoly.
3 days ago
McCarthy house republican spending cuts...
Dave Ross

Ross: Republicans know their spending cuts are unpopular

Have Republicans specified what it is they would cut that's a big enough spending item to make a difference in the debt?
4 days ago
debt...
Dave Ross

Ross: A big, trillion dollar platinum coin can solve the debt crisis

A $1 trillion coin obviously has no practical use – my barista won’t take a fifty – but it would instantly put debt below the current limit.
5 days ago
housing...
Dave Ross

Ross: Finland’s affordable housing strategy could work here too

You can’t make a profit building low-income housing and providing support services to the residents, but one Finland resident found a way.
8 days ago
coffee...
Dave Ross

Ross: The coffee jitters are the least anxious part of my morning brew

Is it environmentally responsible to make your morning coffee with a single-use coffee pod? Dave dives into the data.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
State lawmaker hopes to address concerns over ‘dangerous’ conditions for tow truck drivers