DES MOINES, Iowa – A tow truck operator is leading an effort to have tow truck operators recognized nation wide as first responders. Although Iowa law does give tow truck operators protection in terms of roadside safety, that’s not the case everywhere.
“I am a tow truck operator, and while my state and some others have recognized us as first responders, this is not the case everywhere, ” wrote Brad Baracat of Des Moines, on a Change.Org petition. “Our work on the side of the road is fraught with danger, yet we are often overlooked when it comes to being acknowledged for our role in emergency situations.”
The dangers of this type of work is well known to Tony Nessa, who runs a wrecker service in Webster City, along with his truck and tire center. He remembers towing a truck when he got out to check his lights.
“The first two cars got over the left hand lane, gave me more room, the third one was in the left-hand lane and it was going faster, it swung into the right-hand lane coming right at me.”
Nessa was able to escape without injury, but stories like this can give pause.
“Over the years gals that have been in my life, some of them say, ‘I hope you come home tonight,'” said Nessa. “I know you tell the stories about what’s happened out there.”
Nessa said the big new safety feature for the tow trucks is lights. They can now use red and blue lights like the troopers.
“Everybody uses the amber lights anymore for the oversize loads,” said Nessa. “It is so much better with these new style lights, it helps.”
Under the Iowa Move-Over Law, tow truck operators are included among police, fire and medical which require drivers to move over. That also includes even passenger vehicles with emergency flashers on.