In 1915/1916, Ernest Holmes, a mechanic from Chattanooga, enlisted six men to use ropes and blocks to tow vehicles. He determined later that they could tow cars easier by using a truck that was flat on the cargo end, hence coming up with the flatbed truck. Then he invented a type of crane that could lift cars that had been in accidents onto his tow trucks. In His hometown, There is a Museum dedicated to the history tow trucks located in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum displays restored antique trucks, wreckers, tools, even other equipment, as well as pictorial histories of the industry Holmes created. They also keep most of us in this line of business updated on current events in the industry, and they help raise money each year to help prevent accidents and loss of on the road.
The largest challenge today among professional drivers across our country is public awareness.
In a recent article from January 2019, The San Angelo Standard Times Reports the following:
The Texas Department of Public Safety is ramping up its efforts in January to enforce a law designed to protect first responders from motorists who don't slow down or move vehicles to a safer lane of traffic during emergency situations, according to a news release issued Wednesday on Facebook.
"(DPS) is beginning enforcement efforts across the state focusing specifically on violations of the state’s Move Over/Slow Down law," according to the release.
The law, passed in 2003, requires motorists to move over or slow down when certain vehicles – including police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks – are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated, according to the release.
Enforcement operations are planned throughout the year at various locations in Texas, with several planned in January, according to the release.
Operations for areas in southeast Texas were conducted throughout the day on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019, according to the release.
“Our Highway Patrol Troopers and other offices risk their lives every day for the people of Texas, and their safety is particularly vulnerable while working on the side of the road, where the slightest mistake by a passing motorist can end in tragedy,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “While our officers are serving and protecting Texans, we’re asking drivers to do their part by adhering to the law – simply move over or slow down.”
Specifically, Texas law states that a driver must either:
- Vacate the lane closest to the applicable vehicles stopped on the side of the road (if the road has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction) or
- Slow down to 20 mph below the speed limit. (If the speed limit is below 25 mph, the driver must slow down to 5 mph)
“In light of the numerous vehicle crashes that occur in Texas and across the nation on a daily basis, and the unfortunate fact that many still violate the state law that has been in effect for 15 years, we are increasing our enforcement and education efforts related to this law,” said McCraw.
“In addition to complying with the law to protect those who work on the side of the road, we encourage motorists to show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the roadways. Let’s all get home safely,” McCraw said.
Violations of the law can result in a fine of up to $200; the fine increases to $500 if there is property damage. If violators cause bodily injury, they can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor, resulting in possible jail time and a maximum fine of $2,000.
Preliminary data from January through December 2018 shows that DPS issued more than 41,000 warnings and citations to motorists violating the Move Over /Slow Down law," according to the release.