Tow truck drivers:  Death & Tipping

Workers in the motor vehicle towing industry face an on-the-job fatality risk nearly 15 times greater than workers in all other private industries, according to a recent study from the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH).

Analyzing data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, NIOSH researchers found that 191 motor vehicle towing workers were killed between 2011 and 2016, resulting in an annual rate of 42.9 deaths per 100,000 full-time equivalent workers. For all other industries, that rate was 2.9 per 100,000 FTEs.

Additionally, the annual nonfatal injury rate among motor vehicle towing workers during that same period was 204.2 per 10,000 FTEs – more than double the rate of 98.2 for all industries. Other findings:

  • Motor vehicle incidents were the leading cause of towing industry worker deaths, accounting for 64 percent. Contact with objects and equipment (17 percent) was second.
  • Contact with objects and equipment (34 percent) and overexertion and bodily reaction (32 percent) were the leading causes of nonfatal injuries.
  • Men accounted for 97 percent of the deaths and 94 percent of nonfatal injuries.

“Until now, nonfatal injuries and deaths in the motor vehicle towing industry have been largely overlooked,” NIOSH states. “The findings from this study underscore the need for additional research and tailored prevention efforts.”

Roadside service. 

Think about how long it would take you to change a flat tire. Then imagine how much time you save when a tow truck or other form of roadside assistance does it for you.  USA TODAY talked with expert William Frye, an associate professor at Niagara University's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, for some advice. "Not only are they providing a service, but they're providing a convenience in just making my life a lot easier," Frye says. A tip of $10 is great, and you can opt to give more if, for example, it's raining or snowing outside.

The driver would be more conscientious about taking care of your car, like making sure your keys go in the right place where it is being towed, etc. if he gets a small tip.

Depending on how stranded you are, up to 20.00 for a tow is not unreasonable, five or more for regular things.

AAA drivers have territories, so chances are you may get the same driver and if you give him a tip, any tip, he will remember you the next time.

Meanwhile, if a tow truck shows up to get you out of a jam—be it locking yourself out, a jump-start, changing a tire, or a tow—$5 is an excellent way to show your appreciation in a time of need.

Posted 12:04 PM

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