After deadly crash, some metro tow truck companies reinforcing safety procedures

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tow truck drivers often put their lives in danger to help stranded motorists and crash victims. Just this month, a tow truck driver was hit and killed while doing his job.

That tragedy is causing some companies to take an extra step to keep workers safe.

Just off the Bond Bridge along Interstate 35, tow trucks are often helping a stranded driver tucked on a narrow shoulder.

"It’s very scary. It’s not anything anybody ever wants to do, but we get out there and do it," said Joseph Bybee with Wilde Auto & Recovery.

And they're used to seeing one driver after another not slow down or move over for their flashing lights.

"It's almost like, 'What is the move over law?' There’s not a lot of people that follow it, nor is there a lot of people that enforce it," Bybee said.

Two weeks ago, local tow operator Johnny Stewart was hit and killed by an alleged drunk driver.

"It definitely eats at you. It’s heartbreaking," said Kenny Mayfield with Wilde Auto & Recovery.

Ever since, tow companies around the metro have been considering ways to keep workers safe on the job.

"It's about our lives and us going home to our families. We have kids at home and families at home that need us to come home to them," Bybee said.

Wilde Auto & Recovery is now reinforcing a priority to pair drivers on calls, to provide a block, especially in the most dangerous locations.

"It makes it a little bit safer out there for everybody to have somebody back there to kind of keep an eye out," Mayfield said.

"When it comes down to a vehicle blocking a lane or vehicle on the shoulder, they’ll hit you either way. But at least they’ll hit the back truck not loading, not the front truck that’s loading," Bybee said.

They'll even use the blocking approach to help tow operators from competing companies. They hope the extra set of eyes and flashing lights, will force drivers to follow the law.

"Slow down and move over. Our life’s just as important as your guys,'" Bybee said.