On behalf of The Frickey Law Firm posted on Tuesday, August 27, 2013.
An accident along a heavily-used road in Denver can be a major headache for commuters. As heartless as it sounds, drivers’ frustration with traffic delays may overshadow feelings of empathy for accident victims, emergency personnel or cleanup crews.
Driver self-interest is one reason Colorado adopted a “Move Over” law with penalties for drivers who fail to yield in emergency situations. State drivers who cannot shift over a lane or two away from crash site work must slow down. When drivers don’t, people trying to clear an accident can become accident victims themselves. That was the case in a recent truck accident near Brighton.
The flashing lights of a state trooper’s cruiser on Highway 85 warned drivers that accident cleanup was still blocking the road. A tow truck driver was sweeping the site clear of debris when a pickup truck smashed into the police cruiser. With the cruiser shoved to the side, the pickup then plowed into the tow truck operator.
The trooper was hospitalized with moderate injuries and later released. The tow truck driver died. A police investigation found nothing that could explain why the 61-year-old pickup truck driver failed to slow down or move away from the crash scene.
The story is not unusual, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Emergency workers from troopers to paramedics to tow truck operators risk being hit every time they do their jobs. A 2010 NHTSA report found emergency responders suffered twice the rate of injuries and deaths as the U.S. average for all other professions.
Laws are created to protect vehicles and people in traffic from harm. Car and truck drivers frequently forget they are required to share the roadways with smaller vehicles, construction crews, emergency personnel and pedestrians. The disconnection between one driver’s selfish needs and the safety concerns for everyone using a street, road or highway constitutes negligence.
denver.cbslocal.com, “Tow Truck Operator Dies, Trooper Hurt In Crash” No author given, Aug. 24, 2013