Tow truck drivers are required to have a permit to legally operate in California. Their drivers must pass background checks and must have a commercial driver's license. Unfortunately, not all tow truck operators follow these laws. In one recent fatal commercial vehicle accident involving a tow truck, the driver should not have been on the road. According to news reports, the driver did not have a valid commercial driver's license and the tow truck he owned did not have a permit.
Witnesses and surveillance footage captured the tow truck accident. The tow truck driver, whose speed was estimated at up to 60 mph in a 30 mph zone, drove through a red light in downtown Los Angeles. He collided with a Metro bus. As a result of the impact, the bus destroyed a fire hydrant, which sent water shooting into the air and into the intersection. The tow truck crashed into a storefront.
The tow truck driver was seriously injured. The only occupant of the bus was the driver, who was found face down in water from the hydrant. She died at a hospital.
In addition to not having a proper commercial license or an operating permit, the driver of the truck had a criminal history involving speeding. He was convicted of fleeing police and making terroristic threats after leading police in another state on a high-speed chase and then falsely claiming to have a bomb on his body. According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, the tow truck driver's regular license had been suspended four times since 2009.
One news organization says that the truck driver in this case is not alone in operating without proper permits. There may be many tow truck companies operating illegally in California.
Source: NBC 4, "Tow Truck Driver in Fatal Crash With Metro Bus Lacked Proper License, Permit," Joel Grover, Chris Henao and Phil Drechsler, June 13, 2013