Truck hits, kills on-the-job North Carolina tow truck operator

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Some Raleigh drivers may not be aware that the North Carolina Move Over law applies to vehicles other than police, fire and medical units. State drivers also must slow down and when possible, move over one lane while passing public service vehicles parked along the shoulder. WCTI12.com reported 1440 state drivers were cited last year for "Move Over" violations and more than 900 citations were issued so far this year.

The law was created to protect roadside workers, inches from fast-flowing traffic, whether they are handling emergencies or performing public services. The television station posted a video of tow truck drivers working along Jacksonville roads. Few, if any, drivers bothered to slow down or try to change lanes to accommodate the workers, risking citations that carry fines as high as $500.

A tow truck driver died near Stoneville in mid-August. The 37-year-old Reidsville woman was struck and killed by a semi-truck as she was loading a disabled vehicle, partially protruding onto the right lane of Highway 220, onto the tow truck. The truck accident victim, a Burlington towing company employee, was wearing reflective gear.

North Carolina Highway Patrol reported the tow truck's amber lights were activated, which was compliant with state law. Charges against the truck driver, a 48-year-old Henderson man, are pending a review of the case by the local authorities.

Accidents involving roadside workers aren't always caused by truck drivers, although when they are, the size and weight of the trucks almost guarantee that damage to property and lives is extensive. The tow truck drivers filmed for the TV report stated many drivers don't notice road workers. Some drivers, particularly out-of-state motorists, aren't aware a North Carolina Move Over law exists.

Defendants in criminal and civil courts cannot use inattentiveness and ignorance as excuses. Drivers are accountable for their behaviors and actions they don't take, like slowing down or switching lanes to avoid a collision.

Source: WGHP, " Tow truck driver struck and killed by passing semi-truck" Joe Dominguez, Aug. 20, 2014