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How Many Tow Truck Drivers Die Each Year While Working?
When driving a tow truck, safety should always come first. Tow trucks are not the most dangerous machinery to operate; yet, operator injury and fatality rates are greater than the national average.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 1,280 tow truck workers are injured each year. While not every disaster can be avoided, tow truck operators may take care to guarantee their own safety and the safety of others around them.
Most tow truck incidents include being hit by the towed car, getting hit by traffic, being hit by the tow truck, equipment malfunction, maintenance-related accidents, jobsite hazards, falls, tipovers, and health-related difficulties.
How Many Tow Truck Drivers are Working in the United States?
It is estimated that there are over 31,154 tow truck drivers currently employed in the United States. Here is some other data about tow truck operators we have collected:
- The starting pay for a tow truck driver is between $50,326 and $65,354, with a base pay of $56,990 on average.
- While 95.6% of tow truck drivers are men, only 4.4% of them are women
- On average, tow truck drivers are 48 years old
- Compared to public firms, private businesses employ 72% more tow truck drivers.
The Motor Vehicle Towing Industry Projected Growth
The Motor Vehicle Towing sector in the United States has grown at a 4.7% annual rate over the last three years, reaching $7.1 billion in sales. The 2019 Motor Vehicle Towing Market Research Report provides a comprehensive analysis of the market in the United States.
The Motor Vehicle Towing industry encompasses businesses that typically tow light or large motor vehicles, both locally and long distance. These businesses may offer ancillary services such as storage and emergency road repair.
What are the Responsibilities of Tow Truck Drivers?
Tow truck drivers play an important role in the safety of motorists. Many drivers would be trapped on the road without the help of towing services. They offer a range of roadside assistance services to drivers, including the on-demand towing of passenger cars, the towing of commercial vehicles, and vehicle repairs by the roadside.
In the wake of car accidents, they also carry out crucial traffic incident management (TIM) tasks including removing broken-down vehicles, removing accident debris, and cleaning up spilled goods in collaboration with fire, police, and emergency medical services. Despite their close collaboration with other first responders, data states they face a higher risk of occupational fatality owing to occurrences involving pedestrian struck-bys.
What Skills Do You Need to be a Tow Truck Driver?
The requirements to become a tow truck driver will vary depending on your state. However, most need you to pass training courses and certification processes. Driving a tow truck requires perseverance and commitment. You must not only have a valid driver’s license from your state, but you must also have a spotless driving record.
The work requires traveling on various routes, including winding country lanes, congested freeways, steep slopes and mountains, and busy city streets. It’s typical for towing businesses to want to know if you can pass a physical examination that includes a hearing, vision, and a drug test. To keep up with the job’s physical demands, you must be in good health. You should be able to lift and use heavy equipment, such as tires and tow chains.
Work Demands to Be Aware Of
It’s crucial to be ready for everything. Patience and a willingness to help those in need are your primary responsibilities in every circumstance. When someone needs your help, they are usually irritated, anxious, furious, or upset. Understand that they feel powerless in their situation until the tow truck driver saves the day. It’s never a good moment, so it’s important to pay attention and show empathy to your clients.
You could be requested to aid someone who needs help with anything else, such as repairing their vehicle or changing a tire. Think of how many folks each year need help to jumpstart a battery or are locked out of their cars. You could even be required to assist with supplying fuel, changing spark plugs, and rewiring any loose connections.
Another helpful skill is the ability to understand how various cars and trucks operate. It’s essential to know how various brands, models, and years of cars operate and how to maintain them. Having experience in different roles will give you an advantage in the industry.
As a last point, think about the job’s need for flexibility. Every day of the year, for a complete 24-hour day, a tow truck driver is working. You can work late at night, in the middle of the day, or early in the morning since cars, trucks, and other vehicles need towing at all hours of the day.
Top Four Challenges of Operating a Tow Truck
Unsung heroes like tow truck drivers support motorists when they need it most, helping them and their vehicles get to their destinations safely. But despite what it might seem like, driving a tow truck is not easy. A tow truck driver’s work is extremely difficult for the following reasons:.
Exposed, Isolated, or Unfamiliar Environments – A tow truck driver may be required at any time of day or night, even in the middle of the night. If necessary, they must go to abandoned places or on unexplored routes, which increases the job risk.
Be Quick – A tow truck driver must be able to provide quick service. There is no time for hesitation. They must get to their destination as soon as possible and have complete knowledge of all the routes and locations. This always entails placing oneself in danger of accidents.
Long Hours – Every tow truck driver is used to working long hours. Every night, they are expected to work for many hours straight. This may be stressful since tow truck drivers must be always alert on the road, regardless of how late it is.
Stress – Along with fatigue, tow truck drivers frequently experience stress. It is a heightened working environment, assisting clients on dangerous roads with little to no cover. It’s hardly surprising that tow truck drivers are exhausted.
Tow Truck Driver Death Statistics
According to AAA, a tow truck driver is killed every six days, for a yearly total of more than 60 deaths. With such a staggering number we have to question if this statistic is exaggerated or not. On one hand, 60 or more fatalities a year for tow truck drivers seems like a lot. Since the main objective of the message is to increase caution when driving through areas where roadside assistance is being provided, it is crucial to be clear whether those deaths are on-the-job accidents or total deaths.
According to the Motor Vehicle Towing
According to OSHA, there are 26 fatal injuries in the motor vehicle towing (MVT) industry in a single year. In the same vein, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports 231 work-related deaths in the MVT over the span of six years. 36% of those deaths involved the tow truck operator being struck by roadway traffic, 16% were struck-by incidents involving objects or equipment, and 14% were acts of violence.
OSHA’s reporting standards for occurrences on the roads are less strict. If an event happens on a public road (such as a street or a highway), employers are not required to report it right away—unless it happens in a construction zone. OSHA often doesn’t look into traffic accidents. It frequently leaves the investigation to state and local law enforcement. Because of this, it is hard to pin down a number of fatalities as exact as “one every six days”.
How Many Tow Truck Drivers Die Each Year?
While it may be anticlimactic to not have a specific number, we can still understand the importance of exercising caution while on the road, particularly when there are emergency and service vehicles nearby. Every year, 24 emergency personnel, including tow truck drivers, are struck and killed while doing their duties by the roadside. This means that one person employed in this field dies on average every other week. All 50 states and the District of Columbia now have Move Over legislation in place to safeguard vulnerable people, thanks in large part to the efforts of AAA and other traffic safety activists.
Safety Tips for Roadside Assistance
For any roadside assistance, here are five tips on how to safely maneuver what may be a dangerous circumstance:
Take Flares, Cones, and Reflectors with You – Your roadside work locations need to be very obvious, regardless of the type of roadside service you offer. The sooner passing motorists are aware of your work area, the sooner they can move or slow down to lessen the possibility of a collision.
Assess the Best Point of Entry – When pulled over, narrow shoulders might make driver-side departures hazardous. You should carefully examine the safety of exiting on either side of the vehicle when preparing your vehicles. One side of the car will often be safer to open and escape from than the other.
Get Clients to Safety – Turn on your hazard lights as soon as you get on the site. Securing your client comes before parking completely off the road and departing on the safest side. Ask them to put on fluorescent vests and completely remain off the road for the service if they are in a hazardous location.
Create a Secure and Visible Work Area – Starting a few feet behind your truck and moving forward to the shoulder line and a few feet in front of your customer’s vehicle, lay down reflective cones and self-illuminating area markers. Create a large perimeter. Use flares to make your scene more visible in the rain or at night.
Make Yourself Visible – Arrange powerful direct light sources to illuminate the area where you are working. You want to be able to clearly see what you’re doing. Your task may be accomplished more quickly and safely the better lit it is.
With these safety measures in place, you ought to be able to handle nearly all roadside emergencies without causing any further accidents, injuries, or needless danger.