TAMPA, Fla. – A AAA service provider was assisting a AAA member whose car caught fire at about 3:00 a.m. in Kendall when he was killed in a hit-and-run accident on Saturday. The vehicle was traveling southbound, when it veered into the emergency lane and struck and killed the tow truck driver.
Authorities are asking anyone with information to call Florida Highway Patrol at (305) 470-2500.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the service provider’s family and we hope we can help avoid further loss of life by reminding everyone to obey their state’s Move Over Laws,” said Gerry Gutowski, Sr. Vice President, Automotive Services, AAA - The Auto Club Group.
Emergency responders like law enforcement, paramedics, and tow truck drivers are killed each year while assisting stranded motorists on the side of the road. These professionals are trained to take safety precautions to protect everyone at the scene of a crash. Despite the high visibility of these emergency response vehicles, many motorists still do not see them.
“We keep trying to educate and enforce the Move Over Law, but people still don’t seem to grasp the importance of it,” said Trooper Joe Sanchez, Florida Highway Patrol. “The reason we passed this law was to protect all safety personnel and you should move over one lane anytime you see anyone working and that includes construction workers and tow truck drivers.”
“Motorists should take every precaution when stranded on the roadside in the middle of traffic,” said Gutowski. “However, some practices are safer than others and there are important actions you can take to help protect you and other occupants in your vehicle.”
Since each situation is unique, it is difficult to advise people to be safe in every scenario when they are in the path of oncoming traffic. AAA recommends stranded motorists call law enforcement immediately if they feel unsafe and are concerned other motorists may not see them.
AAA: How to Stay Safe When Stranded on Roadside:
-Pull off to the right side of the road. Try to pull over onto the shoulder where you are NOT in danger of getting struck by traffic.
-Turn on your hazard lights. Make certain you are visible to other drivers by turning on your vehicle’s emergency flashers. If your lights do not work, exit the vehicle and stay out of oncoming traffic.
-Exit your vehicle opposite the side of oncoming traffic. If you exit your vehicle, wait as far away from it and oncoming traffic as possible. Try to stand on a sidewalk or behind a guardrail.
-Call the police for assistance. If you are concerned for your safety and need assistance with traffic control, call local law enforcement for help.