new directions


Protecting Those
Who Protect Us

The International Towing and Recovery Museum recently held a solemn ceremony in Chattanooga, Tenn. The museum added 22 more names to the Wall of the Fallen, a memorial that honors towing operators around the country who have died in the line of service. Since this ceremony started 10 years ago, the wall has listed the names of more than 400 men and women who have paid the ultimate price in serving stranded motorists.

This observance is intended in part to increase awareness of Move Over laws, which require drivers to slow down when they see the flashing lights of emergency vehicles and move a lane away from them. Many states – including Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi – designate tow trucks as emergency vehicles. Roadside assistance providers put themselves in danger each time they exit their service vehicles along busy roadways, and these laws can literally be lifesaving.

You might be surprised to learn that Move Over laws only began to be adopted in 1996. The first law was enacted in South Carolina after a paramedic was struck by a car while at the scene of a vehicle accident. The paramedic broke an arm and a leg, but what bothered him most was that he, not the driver, was charged with a traffic violation. He found that the laws at the time regarded emergency workers the same as pedestrians – namely, as traffic hazards – and he successfully worked to change the law in that state. AAA also began advocating for the expansion of Move Over laws, which are thankfully now in place in all 50 states.

The next time you see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle, please remember to slow down and move over when it’s safe to do so. It’s a simple way we can all help these heroes of the highways to do their job safely.

Jim McGrath

January/February 2017 Issue

Jim McGrath


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