HARRISBURG – The Senate voted in favor of a bill sponsored by Rep. Steve Barrar (R-Chester/Delaware) that would better protect tow truck operators by authorizing the use of emergency lights to increase other drivers’ visibility.
“There have been far too many situations where we’ve lost tow truck drivers after they were hit on the side of the road, just trying to do their jobs. This bill would increase safety by allowing tow trucks to be considered emergency vehicles in certain situations,” Barrar said.
House Bill 1414
would authorize flashing yellow and white lights on tow trucks, yellow strobe lights for solid waste collection vehicles and mounted internal blue lights for volunteer firefighters. Lights are only to be used when towing a vehicle behind the tow truck, rather than being securely positioned on the flatbed of the tow truck without any part of the vehicle being towed overhanging. The emergency lights cannot be used when brake lights, turn signals and operating lights are visible from the rear and not obstructed.
The bill would also authorize solid waste collection vehicles across the Commonwealth to use a bright yellow strobe, visible from all directions, and would require that the strobe be active when stopped on a street and while collecting garbage, solid waste, recyclables and refuse while moving between stops at a speed not greater than 10 miles an hour.
Lastly, the legislation would also permit emergency lights and sirens on the vehicles of armed probation officers in a city of the first class. The officers are appointed by the court and are sworn officers with the power to arrest. They work closely with the Philadelphia Police Department, as well as U.S. marshals and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Unlike the others, they are not currently able to participate in car pursuits because they aren’t equipped with necessary lighting.
“I encourage Gov. Tom Wolf to sign this bill, which would better protect the lives of men and women as they do the important work of the Commonwealth and give their families greater peace of mind,” Barrar added.
The bill now returns to the House for a concurrence vote.
Representative Stephen E. Barrar
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Alison Evans