In the interest of protecting tow truck operators as they work on busy roads and highways, Senator Bill Larkin (R-C, Cornwall-on-Hudson) is sponsoring legislation (S.1609) that would establish in law the proper procedures for approaching and passing stopped tow trucks that are helping other motorists.
"The nature of their job often puts tow truck operators in very dangerous positions on our roads and highways," said Senator Larkin. "Every year in New York several operators are killed or severely injured by other drivers’ excessive speed and bad judgement. This bill defines the proper precautions motorists must use to avoid colliding with tow trucks."
According to Larkin’s proposal, the driving public would be notified by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles about the required procedures they must exercise when a tow truck is parked, stopped, or standing on the shoulder or any portion of a highway. Those found in violation of these safety procedures the first time could face a fine of up to $500 and/or imprisonment for up to thirty days. A second violation, within a period of three years, would carry a fine of up to $900 and/or imprisonment for up to one hundred twenty days. A third or subsequent violation, committed within a period of three years, will be punished by a fine of up to $1,500 and/or jail time for up to one hundred eighty days. After a third violation, the court would suspend a driver’s license for six months.
Larkin added, "Tow truck operators work all hours of the day and night, literally risking life and limb to help stranded motorists. "They deserve the same rights of protection that the state gives to other road workers. Ultimately, this bill will prevent serious injuries and save lives."