Move Over Laws in the News

Aug 1st, 2014 | By | Category: Spotlight

Move Over Laws in the NewsTow truck operators and Move Over laws have been the focus of numerous news reports across the nation and in Canada during recent months.

A new report from Odessa, Texas, says that increased traffic due to the area’s oil boom translates into more accidents, and tow truck drivers speak out that responding to those roadside crashes puts their lives at risk.

Florida’s Move Over law was put into the public spotlight after the death of towing operator Kit Tappen, 41, who was killed in June after being struck by a tractor trailer on Interstate 95 while assisting a driver whose car had broken down.

Towing operators in Minnesota and Wisconsin are urging people to remember that the law requiring motorists to move over for emergency and maintenance vehicles includes tow trucks.

In Hanford, California’s Sentinel news site, the California Highway Patrol reminds motorists that California Vehicle Code section 21809(a) mandates that drivers approaching any patrol vehicle, California Department of Transportation vehicle or any tow truck with its rear amber lights activated must move over, or if unable to move over sufficiently, slow down.

A July news report from Maryland, states that Maryland’s 2010 law requires drivers to change lanes if there is an emergency vehicle on the shoulder of the road adjacent to the driver’s lane, and that “Switching lanes is mandatory when it is safe to do so and if there is another lane available going the same direction. If moving away from the emergency vehicle is not possible, drivers need to slow down.” The requirement applies to “law enforcement, fire company, rescue squad or emergency medical vehicles as well as hazardous material cleanup vehicles or those designated for emergency use by the Commissioner of Correction.” The report further states that beginning in October, the law will include tow trucks.

Towers in Georgia are pushing for stricter Move Over laws after tow truck operator Patrick Brownlee was killed in July while helping a driver on Interstate 20.

And in Canada, Calgary police, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the AMA have launched a road safety campaign to educate drivers on how to approach emergency vehicles and tow trucks. The campaign included police educating drivers on the streets of Calgary and Alberta’s highways to “slow down when passing emergency vehicles and crews to give them room to work.”