The West

Bid for new law after tow truck death
Two truck driver Jim Hall pays tribute to his wife Abby on his truck. Picture: Steve Ferrier/The West Australian

Jim Hall knows better than anyone just how dangerous driving a tow truck on Perth roads can be.

His 51-year-old wife and business partner Abby, a mother of two, was hit by a truck while collecting a broken-down car off the side of the Roe Highway in Beckenham on Christmas Eve.

Six days later, Mr Hall and his family made the heartbreaking decision to turn off her life support machine.

"As a family we decided the best thing for Abby was to let her go," Mr Hall said.

"She had terrible injuries. She wouldn't have wanted to be kept alive by a machine."

Mr Hall is speaking out because he fears it is only a matter of time before another driver loses their life if nothing is done to improve safety for roadside workers.

The towing industry and the RAC are lobbying the State Government for what are known as "slow down and move over laws".

Similar laws are already in place in NSW and the US, forcing motorists to reduce their speed by at least 30km/h when approaching a crash scene or breakdown.

And drivers must also change lanes - where possible - to give contractors more room to move. Failing to do so would result in a charge of dangerous driving.

"There are several close calls every week where drivers are clipped by wing mirrors and other things as well as abuse," Mr Hall said.

"People just don't care . . . they just don't get out of your way."

Mrs Hall had been a driving tow trucks for about two years.

Her husband taught her to drive, always telling her to treat traffic like the ocean and to never turn her back on it.

"She loved the job, just loved helping people," Mr Hall said.

"It used to shock a lot of people when a blonde-haired lady would jump out of the truck and say, 'Hi, can I help you'."

A 59-year-old man has been charged with dangerous driving causing death over the crash.

The towing industry is in talks with Main Roads, Police and the Road Safety Council about the need for change.

A submission will be put to the Government soon.

'There are several close calls every week where drivers are clipped by wing mirrors and other things as well as abuse.'"Tow truck driver

  • Jim Hall *
The West Australian

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