It seems like the ultimate irony: a tow truck comes to help during a car wreck, but then the driver causes another accident. Regrettably, this sort of thing happens fairly often. Tow truck drivers are human, and they make mistakes, just like everybody else.
If you start to look at tow truck accidents, though, you’ll begin to see that there are certain activities, behaviors, or factors that often come into play when these situations arise. Let’s go over a few of them.
It’s interesting to note that day and night car accidents happen with almost the same frequency. 51% of car accident fatalities occur during daylight hours, compared to 49% at night.
Driver fatigue comes into play sometimes when a tow truck driver crashes their vehicle, and these accidents happen equally often during both the day and night. You might have a tow truck driver who normally works a night shift, but they get an emergency call during the day. They may be half asleep on the way to the crash site, which can cause them to make a mistake.
If there are many towing companies and drivers available in a particular area, then a driver won’t have to take any calls when they are exhausted. If they live in a smaller community, though, and there are no other drivers or tow trucks around, that’s when they might stumble out of bed and wreck their vehicle because they haven’t slept sufficiently.
Too Many Hours Behind the Wheel
This second issue is related to the first. You might have a tow truck driver who is not driving as safely as they should be because they are working inordinately long shifts.
Most people don’t realize this, but tow truck drivers need to have commercial driver’s licenses. They also have to adhere to strict rules which say that they can only drive for 11 hours during the typical 14-hour shift. They need to take breaks during that shift, and they cannot exceed 14 hours by law.
The issue is that it’s sometimes tough for cops or governing bodies to make sure that tow truck drivers are adhering to those guidelines. If a driver works for a particular company, that company can enforce those rules with no issues.
If the driver is their own boss, they are the one who says when they work and for how long. That gives them more freedom, and it also might afford them a chance to flout the law and work longer shifts than they should.
Improper Driver Training or No License
As we mentioned, an individual needs that commercial driver’s license to operate a tow truck. That does not prevent some people from attempting to drive tow trucks without one, though.
You always have unscrupulous individuals who will try to get fake licenses or operate a tow truck when they have a suspended license. When you call a tow truck company after a car wreck, you have no way to know whether the person they send over has that license and whether it is valid or not.
You probably won’t think to ask them to look at their license after a crash. The wreck might shake you up, and you’re concentrating on other things. All you might really do is hope that the individual who shows up has the license and knows what they’re doing.
Alcohol or Drug Use
It probably does not surprise you that alcohol and drug use should have a place on this list. Whenever you have humans operating vehicles or machinery, they might decide to ingest alcohol or drugs before doing so.
Cops often feel less inclined to pull over a tow truck driver. However, if they see a driver swerving or a tow truck makes an illegal turn, that will be a reason to detain the driver to administer a breathalyzer test.
Since some tow truck operators work long hours, they might use amphetamines or other “uppers” to stay awake. You also might have a situation where the driver was off duty and enjoying some alcoholic beverages, and then they got a call about a crash. They may hop in their tow truck while intoxicated because they want the business.
Unfortunately, you have no way to be certain before a tow truck driver shows up whether they are fully licensed, sober, and ready to handle the job professionally. Just stay out of the way, let them do their job, and hope for the best.