The recent senseless death of a mechanic attempting to tow a car has resulted in a new law in Colorado to enhance the safety of tow truck operators.
The law, signed by Governor Hickenlooper on June 7, was introduced less than two months prior to its passage. This speedy action on the part of the legislature was in reaction to the death of Allen Rose, for whom the bill was named.
Allen Rose was attempting to tow an illegally-parked SUV from an apartment complex in Colorado Springs when the SUV’s driver jumped in the car and drove away, somehow catching Rose’s leg in the not-yet-secured tow cable. Rose was dragged, screaming, for more than a mile while witnesses tried to get the driver to stop. Rose was finally freed and was taken to a hospital where he subsequently died of his injuries.
In the wake of the dragging death, Colorado law now requires that a sticker be placed on the driver’s-side window of any car to be towed, which will read “Warning: this vehicle is in tow. Attempting to operate or operating this vehicle may result in criminal prosecution and may lead to injury or death to you or another person.”
Although the bill is in direct response to the Rose’s death, it also addresses the safety issues that come up any time an emergency vehicle or other special-purpose vehicle must stop on the road. Drivers of these vehicles should not be put at undue risk of car accidents while doing their jobs.
Therefore the bill also adds tow trucks to the varieties of emergency vehicles for which other drivers must pass with care by moving at least one lane apart from the tow vehicle (on highways with at least two adjacent lanes). For smaller roads, drivers passing tow trucks must reduce and maintain a safe speed, just as they have done for emergency vehicles.