CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - A Missouri tow truck driver was killed on the job Friday Feb. 7 when he was struck by vehicle on the a state highway north of Springfield.
Emergency workers in the Heartland say the crash is an important reminder for all drivers to follow the state’s ‘Move Over’ law.
“It’s a huge problem and it’s only getting worse you know the distracted driving is at an all time high,” said Ron Pratt with Midwest Truck Sales & Service Inc.
Pratt has had some close calls working on the side of the road and said it can turn deadly in seconds.
“Quite honestly it drives some people away from the industry because it scares them. They have a close call out on the interstate and they leave, they’re done," Pratt said.
Pratt said the worker who was killed while on the side of the road Friday is far from the first case, even this year.
“We’ve had the worst start to the year we’ve ever had," Pratt said. "In 2020 within the first 48 hours we had four operators across the nation hit.”
Sgt. Clark Parrott with the Missouri State Highway Patrol said troopers do write tickets when drivers fail to move over, and in Missouri that includes not giving space to road crews, utility vehicles, and tow trucks using white and amber lights.
“That highway out there is our office. We’re making traffic stops on the roadways everyday and we can not encourage people enough to slow down and move over," Parrott said. “First we have to pay attention. When we are too busy doing things inside the car we don’t recognize threats around us and a car on the shoulder we need to pay attention to it.”
As a way to improve Missouri’s move over law, Pratt is hoping lawmakers push for harsher fines, stricter enforcement, but also for people to develop safer driving habits.
“Even if there is no lights on, nothing I move over, just because it has effected me that much knowing that I could be hit, my family could be hit,” Pratt said. “Just take a few extra seconds out of your day to move over a lane and slow down 15, 20 miles an hour.”
On average one tow truck driver is killed every six days, according to AAA.
Both Illinois and Tennessee have added on to their move over laws last year.