HARLINGEN, Texas ( ValleyCentral) – Many people are hitting the road to see their loved ones this Thanksgiving. But with more cars out on the road, there is a risk for more accidents over the holiday.
But local tow truck drivers believe many people are ignoring a law that supposed to protect tow truckers when they are out on the streets.
“It’s very dangerous and we have a high rate of accidents with tow truck drivers as well as emergency responders,” said John Ortiz, Owner of Capital Towing in Harlingen.
On any given day tow truck drivers like Ortiz are prepared to respond car accidents and breakdown across the Valley. But responding to those calls in a risk for them especially on the expressway.
“We have had where tow truck driver have had to jump out of the way from being hit,” Ortiz said. “We have had a car clip a mirror one of our tow trucks when it’s going down the road over on the expressway.”
While more people are hitting the road this Thanksgiving, tow truckers like Ortiz are preparing to respond to more car accidents these next few days. While Capital Towing are in close contact with police departments including Harlingen PD, the Texas Transportation Code considers tow trucks as first responders.
State law requires drivers to slow down or move over for any tow truck driver responding to call out on the streets.
“People don’t realizes the tow truck drivers are first responders,” said Co-Owner Nicole Ortiz. “And there is a law the slow down move over. When they are going down the road the need to know that if they see a tow truck on the side of the road they need either move over or slow down 20 miles below the speed limit.”
Harlingen Police tell Valley Central the department always has patrol units out on the roads especially during the holiday season. Police said the biggest issue they see when out on the expressway is distracted driving.
And while Ortiz and his drivers are putting safety first, all they ask is for other drivers to do the same.
“Please be aware don’t text and drive,” Ortiz said. “We’ve seen so many accidents that could have been avoided just be aware of your surroundings.”