Why Does a Tow Truck Accident Happen in Washington, D.C.?

Tow truck delivers car to repair shop.
tow truck drivers are considered to be first responders, and because of that, the tow truck is an emergency vehicle. In some cases, the tow truck driver is the first to arrive on the scene.

Tow Truck Accident Lawyer in D.C. – Roeser Law Firm

We’ve all seen tow trucks trying to weave in and out of traffic to get to an accident scene. Often, they are parked in or to the side of the road as the operator tries to move a damaged vehicle. All of this is usually happening when traffic is backed up and tempers are high. Let’s take a detailed look at the tow truck drivers, the different types of tow trucks and when they become a danger on the road. 

Are Tow Trucks a Danger to Other Drivers?

In some cases, tow trucks are a danger to other drivers. They are big, heavy and difficult to maneuver, especially with another vehicle attached or on board. However, for the most part, tow trucks put the operator in a dangerous place. 

Think about it. Tow truck drivers frequently load a disabled vehicle in the middle of a highway or on the shoulder of the road as speeding, reckless and distracted drivers whizz by. Being hit by oncoming traffic is a common job hazard, and as a pedestrian, when it happens, a deadly one. Being hit by a vehicle traveling at 65 mph without protection is a sure-fire way to face serious injuries or succumb to them. 

Is a Tow Truck Driver an Emergency Vehicle?

Yes, tow truck drivers are considered to be first responders, and because of that, the tow truck is an emergency vehicle. In some cases, the tow truck driver is the first to arrive on the scene. Since Washington, D.C. does not currently have a move-over law aimed at emergency vehicles, the danger is even greater in the District. Drivers often go in the direction their eyes are looking toward, and if the operator of the motor vehicle is watching the tow truck, you can be sure an accident can occur. 

Causes of a Tow Truck Accident

The following are the most common causes of a tow truck accident:

  • Tow truck drivers may speed to arrive at the accident scene, causing an accident along the way.
  • In an effort to reach the accident scene, the driver may cut in front of other vehicles or tailgate them.
  • Since tow truck operators are on-call 24 hours a day, they may be too fatigued to drive safely.
  • The tow truck lacks working flashing lights. 
  • The loss of a vehicle being towed due to old chains and tow hooks that give way causes many accidents.
  • A vehicle being towed sways or drifts into other lanes, causing an accident.

Types of Tow Trucks

There are different types of tow trucks that are used in the Metropolitan D.C. area, and the following are the most common:

  • Flatbeds: This type of tow truck has a flat bed, and disabled cars can be lifted aboard by a hydraulic system or can be driven onto the bed. There are inherent dangers to this type of tow truck, most noticeably when a vehicle breaks loose after being loaded and falling.
  • Hook and chain: This system uses a boom winch to lift two wheels of the towed vehicle off the ground. If the chains holding the towed vehicle in place break, a serious accident involving other vehicles can occur.

How a Tow Truck Accident Lawyer Can Help

At the Roeser Law Firm in Washington, D.C., we send experienced investigators to the scene of the accident. They use accident reconstruction techniques to determine liability, interview witnesses and obtain video surveillance videos if available. We’ve defended tow truck drivers when they are hit as they respond to an accident and passenger vehicle drivers injured when a tow truck driver is reckless, winning damages or filing a wrongful death lawsuit for the family. Call us at (202) 660-4070, or reach out to us online to schedule a free case review. 

Zeke Roeser


3000 Connecticut Avenue NW
Suite 140
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 660-4070