LACKAWANNA COUNTY, Pa. — One of the last pieces of legislation Gov. Tom Wolf signed into law before he left office was an amendment to allow blue lights on the back of tow trucks while they're on the side of a road.
During a recent ceremony in Lancaster, the Duchnik family from Lackawanna County received a signed copy of legislation intended to help protect tow truck drivers. The new law allows tow trucks to display blue lights while they're working on the side of a road.
"We can only have them on the back of our trucks. We can only have them on when we're not in motion. If we pull away from the side of the road once we start going, we have to shut them off," explained Dave Duchnik, owner of Duchnik's Service Center and Towing near Dalton.
Duchnik says when drivers see blue lights on police cars, most of them slow down. He hopes drivers do the same now for tow trucks.
"We feel now with the blue lights on the back of the trucks, that will make a big difference because people just don't slow down for the yellow lights."
Duchnik calls the passing of this law bittersweet. In 2016, he and his son, Dave Duchnik Jr., were hit by a tractor-trailer as they worked along Interstate 81 near Clarks Summit. His son died.
"I actually think if they were on our truck when my son got killed, and both of us got hit, I think that the driver would have seen the lights and probably would have moved over or slowed down."
Duchnik has been hit three times in his career while working. He and his family have pushed hard for laws to prevent crashes involving cars on the side of the road. The state Move Over Law went into effect two years ago.
"You see all the tractor-trailers mostly moving over all the time. Like, very rarely you get a couple that don't, so I think the Slow Down Move Over Law helped big time."
Duchnik still puts up billboards with his son's face as a reminder for drivers.
"Let's hope people get the message out there: Slow down. It's dangerous, and we're only out there doing our job, and we all want to come home to our family at the end of the day."
Duchnik plans to put blue lights on all his trucks as soon as possible.
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