Tow truck drivers and risks of drugs


Kitsap Towing

Angus Nordlund, Staff Writer

It is well known that tow truck drivers can face many dangers while out on the job, such as weather conditions, ongoing cars, fatigue and even having to navigate through heavy traffic. However, not many would think that the risk of drugs would be on that list. Though it may seem quite far fetched, tow truck drivers are one of the main people on the front lines of the drug epidemic, risking their lives to get others out of a tough vehicle situation in a seemingly innocent profession.

How is this possible? How can such a simple job lead to such a dangerous outcome?

Well, for starters, keep in mind that in order to tow a vehicle, the tow truck driver must first make sure that the vehicle is empty before towing it. This is where it can get dangerous. Some drivers who go around the car can get injected by a needle filled with deadly drugs if they’re not careful. This doesn’t always happen, but if the wrong kind of customer calls for a tow, it is a risk.

One of the many drugs that a driver has to look out for is fentanyl, a narcotic painkiller that can become highly addictive. It can lead to all sorts of problems such as respiratory distress or even death, if taken in a high enough dose or in combination with alcohol.

The situation for some has become so dangerous and risky in recent years, as new, more deadly drugs pop up on the market, that some businesses have had to change the way they work. For example, drivers, that work at Wallen’s Towing in Corbin, Kentucky, are required to have a pair of gloves and cleaning alcohol on hand when arriving at the scene of an accident, just in case.

“We always wear gloves, and if the vehicle is deemed to dangerous to handle, then we have to option to just walk away,” says Derek Combs, a tow truck driver for Kitsap Towing.

Derek has seen first hand the dangers that many like him face on the job.

“Within my first week or two, I had to do a police impound and that’s when I learned about it. I found around four or five needles on the floor of the car,” shared Derek.

It’s not only drugs that the drivers need to worry about. Firearms can also be a serious threat. If a customer’s gun is still in the car when the driver is inspecting, and is not in a safe position, the driver could potentially set if off and be seriously injured or worse.