New PA Bill Would Protect Tow Truck Drivers, First Responders

A proposed bill in the Pennsylvania General Assembly will mean increased fines for drivers not complying with the commonwealth’s law on cautionary driving near accidents. The current “steer clear” law requires that drivers approaching accident scenes on state highways either slow down or move over by one lane to protect first responders. However, increased crash and injury statistics suggest that “not all drivers know about the law, or they choose to ignore it,” according to a recent news article.

SB 1281 was introduced this fall following the July death of 29-year-old Tyler Laudenslager, a firefighter working as a tow-truck driver who was struck and killed responding to an accident, leaving behind his high school sweetheart and a 10-month-old daughter. At least one tow-truck driver responds to one of the 350 daily accidents in Pennsylvania, and 151 emergency responders have been killed while assisting drivers on Pennsylvania roads. The bill would increase penalties for violators of “steer clear” and rename it the “move over” law. First-time offenders will be hit with a $500 fine and two points on their license. Fines for future offenses could run as high as $2,000.

The article cited several causes for those causing crashes at accident scenes – drivers who are under the influence, tired, careless, or distracted, with technology only making the problem worse. “Every time we’re out on the road, we have to keep our heads on a swivel…we’re constantly watching back,” said one tow-truck driver.

If you were injured in an auto accident where you believe someone was negligent, please reach out to us to discuss your legal options.