Tow Truck Driver Held up in Roadside Horror
Release date: 3/02/2016
The Courier, by Olivia Shying, 2 February 2016
A tow truck driver was allegedly confronted by an armed robber who threatened him and demanded cash on a major highway.
ENOUGH: Tow truck driver Damian Wood was not surprised a tow truck driver was attacked by armed robber. He says drivers are exposed to danger. Picture: Lachlan Bence
The Learmonth Road Smash Repairs tow truck driver, who was too shaken to speak to The Courier, was attempting to help the motorist when the shocking attack occurred.
Detectives from the Moorabool Criminal Investigation Unit are continuing to investigate the incident.
The attack has prompted many in the industry to speak out about the dangers tow truck drivers, who travel at night alone, face.
The Transport Workers’ Union has called for an urgent Work Safe investigation to the incident, which it says raises serious concerns about driver safety.
Ballarat Towing Service manager Damian Wood said he had been repeatedly exposed to trauma, personally been assaulted and had a gun waved in face over his 32 years as a tow truck driver.
Mr Wood said the danger tow truck drivers experienced was “never ending” and continued to go unnoticed.
“There are no formal counselling services and we are not considered an emergency service,” Mr Wood said. “It’s had a huge impact on me.”
Mr Wood said fellow drivers were not surprised to hear of the horror roadside robbery.
“You’re exposed to danger,” Mr Wood said.
Trans-Help chief executive Dianne Carroll urged drivers involved in traumatic situations to immediately seek help, to avoid being permanently traumatized.
TransHelp is a support group that links drivers with support.
“People don’t understand, especially with tow truck drivers – they are on the scene of many accidents, they might see two dozens fatal incidences,” Ms Carroll said.
Mr Wood stressed the attack on drivers was simply, not good enough.
“Everyone has the right to be safe in their workplace, and the road is our workplace,” Mr Wood said.
Transport Workers’ Union National Secretary Tony Sheldon said truck drivers were 15 more times likely to die at work than workers in any other profession.
"This incident raises serious security questions for people going about their jobs,” Mr Sheldon said.
The union is currently calling for measures to be put in place to ensure drivers are not exposed to vulnerable situations.
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