AAA Launches Campaign to Protect Tow Operators, First Responders

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AAA Press Release:

AAA is urging drivers to Slow Down and Move Over, to protect the lives of tow operators and first responders. Special events were held on January 23 in Tampa, Fla.,  to spread awareness of the Move Over Law – read more here.

The towing industry is 15 times deadlier than all other private industries combined. According to the CDC, one tow operator is killed in the line of duty every other week in the United States.

“This is a topic that hits very close to home,” said Mark Jenkins, spokesman, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “AAA’s roadside service providers will respond to more than 30 million calls for help, this year alone. These technicians risk their lives every time they step out on the roadside. We just ask motorists to return the favor by staying alert and moving over, so our workers can return home to their families.”

While all fifty states have Move Over Laws for emergency responders – which includes tow trucks – fewer than 30 percent of Americans know about these laws, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

In Florida, The Move Over Law requires drivers to:

  • Move over as soon as it is safe to do so for any authorized vehicles displaying visible signals while stopped on the roadside.
  • Two-Lane Roadway:  When approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing parked on the side of a two-lane road, you MUST slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit and approach with caution, unless otherwise directed by an emergency worker on the scene.
  • Multi-Lane Roadway: Slow down when you see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle on the roadside, and – if you can – move over into an adjacent lane. If you cannot change lanes, reduce your speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
  • If you are unable to move over due to road or weather conditions, or traffic congestion, slow down and maintain a safe speed while passing.
  • Failure to do so may result in a $60 fine.

Drivers should Slow Down and Move Over for stopped vehicles including:

  • Tow trucks or wreckers
  • Law enforcement
  • Fire department
  • Emergency medical service
  • Department of Transportation
  • Utility and sanitation service

AAA offers these precautionary tips to motorists:

  • Remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on the task of driving.
  • Scan the area ahead. Maintain a visual lead of everything going on 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. This gives you time to see problems ahead and change lanes and adjust speed accordingly.
  • Recognize and respond. Emergencies can occur anywhere on the road. When you see flashing lights, slow down and prepare well in advance to change lanes. Allow others to merge into your lane when necessary.
  • Don’t “tailgate”. Do not follow semi-trucks or other large vehicles too closely. If a truck moves into a left-hand lane, don’t speed around the right side. They are changing lanes for a reason; be prepared to change lanes yourself.
  • Be aware of road conditions. When road conditions are slick, don’t make sudden lane changes which can cause an uncontrollable skid. Change lanes early and move over gradually.
  • If you are unable to move over, slow down to a safe speed taking into consideration that you are approaching a workspace where pedestrians are present.

For information on laws in other states, visit drivinglaws.aaa.com.

Video links: Roadside B-Roll / Campaign Video

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