Tow truck drivers talk about danger of profession

CREATED Feb 14, 2014

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NAPLES, Fla. -

Anyone old enough to drive knows to slow down when they approach an accident scene alongside a road but usually the last group of people left are the tow trucks. What many people don't know is that it's a very dangerous profession. Four In Your Corner's Dave Culbreth talks tonight with someone looking out for their safety.

The local owner of a tow truck company says everybody knows to slow down when they see flashing blue or red lights... but not when they see lights on tow trucks. He says last year twelve EMS people and seven law enforcement officials were killed alongside roads working on accidents. How many tow truck drivers were killed? One a week.

"Last year we had 52 tow truck drivers throughout the country were involved in fatalities while they were on the side of the road working," said Bud Gruber. He is the local director of a statewide tow truck drivers association and the owner of Bald Eagle Towing in Naples. He's concerned, concerned about drivers not slowing down at accident scenes.

"When us tow truck drivers are on the side of the road, we're really put at hazards way because people don't really recognize the amber light anymore," Gruber explained.

He wants the state of Florida and the country to change and have a different, but more importantly, recognizable color flashing on two trucks at accident scenes. "Barricades and barrels, construction equipment, golf carts. Everybody uses yellow or amber lights and in a lot of cases they're riding down the highway with these yellow lights on," complained Gruber.

His industry has even taken this issue to the White House. "It needs like 98,000 people to sign this petition to petition the White House to give us the right to change from amber lights to some other color or combination of colors," said Gruber.

Many people know blue is for cops, and red is for fire and EMS. (Culbreth): What color is available? "That's a good question because the green is taken up, blue's taken up, red's taken up, and the yellow, of course is used by everybody," answered Gruber. "We're not sure. We're probably gonna have to mix colors if we get the OK to do it."

Gruber says anyone can help with this problem, by signing a petition. All you have to do is go to www.FOX4now.com, and click on the Big Red 4 for more information.