Death of Springfield tow truck operator prompts change
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WRSP) —
Towing continues to be one of the deadliest jobs in the country.
In 2015, 745 tow truck operators were killed, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
"People are just not slowing down, paying attention, they're texting. Yesterday was a perfect example," said Shane McDermith, the owner of Shaner’s Towing.
On Friday, a tow truck driver was struck on I-72, as he worked to put a car on his truck.
“A black jeep for whatever reason, we don't know yet, veered to the right, actually struck the vehicle he was trying to load, struck him, before flipping over and sliding down the interstate," said Trooper Sean Ramsey, with Illinois State Police.
The cause of the deadly incident is still being investigated.
This isn't the first time Springfield has lost a tow truck driver.
Two years ago a driver for Shaner's Towing was killed while changing a tire.
"I was there in twelve minutes from the time I got the call, so I got to see everything. He was still in the middle of the interstate. He was laying in the center lane," said McDermith.
McDermith said that phone call was something he never wants again.
Since then, he's teamed up with IDOT and now provides safety training to tow truck drivers throughout the state.
“Trying to teach and trying to pray and pray and pray that all of our tow brothers and all of our sisters and all of our first responders always keep an eye on traffic when we're out on the interstate or any road," he explained.
McDermith said stopping these incidents won't be done just by informing towers.
“Anytime you see hazards, any time you orange lights, any time you see red or blues slow down and as soon as you can get over," he said.
Illinois State Police said one way to avoid these incidents is people obeying "Scott's Law".
They said if any vehicle is on the side of the road with their emergency flashers on, drivers must move to the next lane and slow down.