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Colorado Passes New Tow Truck Law

Spurred by the horrific death of a tow truck driver, Colorado has passed legislation making it a crime to get behind the wheel of a vehicle being towed.  In Colorado Springs, Colo. Allen Rose, a married 35-year-old father of two and an Iraq war veteran, was in the process of towing an illegally parked car on February 23, 2011. The driver of the SUV jumped into the car and drove off. A cable that connected the tow truck to the SUV snapped and entangled Rose. He was dragged for more than a mile before he was released. The driver was charged with manslaughter, yet claimed she was unaware that her vehicle was about to be towed.

New Law Gives Notice of Towing

The Allen Rose Tow Truck Safety Act makes it a crime to get behind the wheel of a vehicle being towed. Tow truck drivers are now required to place a large sticker on the driver's side window of the towed vehicle. The sign warns drivers that their vehicle is being towed and they may be prosecuted if they operate or attempt to operate the vehicle. It is also a misdemeanor for anyone but an authorized tow truck driver to attempt to remove the sign. The new law took effect on July 1.

Protects Tow Operators on Highways As Well

The law also requires motorists who encounter tow trucks with lights flashing on a highway shoulder to pull to the left lane to give tow truck operators a safety zone. The law is similar to one that requires motorists to move to the left lane when encountering emergency vehicles. Vehicles passing perilously close to them at highway speeds while they are engaged in towing operations often endanger tow truck drivers. "I've had cars whiz past me like many other tow truck drivers," noted one driver. "It gets scary."

Passage of the new law will hopefully make the life of a tow truck driver a little safer. "I feel glad that Allen's widow gets to see this happen and see what happened to [Allen] wasn't in vain. That something good came out of it," said a fellow tow truck driver.