There’s some big news on the horizon for Alabama towers:
The state of Alabama is seeking to broaden its Move Over law.
Many states have adopted some form of a Move Over law, which requires motorists to change lanes or slow down when they approach a stopped emergency vehicle. However, many towers feel that these laws are ineffective, as drivers still fly by tow trucks that are on the side of the road. Drivers hit ambulances, fire trucks, tow trucks…and people.
According to Representative Chris Sells of Alabama, who was quoted in a WIAT piece about the proposed changes to Alabama’s Move Over law, about seven firefighters, 11 law enforcement officers, and up to 50 wrecker drivers every year in the United States. And that’s why this law change is going beyond just first responders to make the roads safer.
The proposed bill would protect any vehicle displaying flashing lights, including hazards. The bill is geared towards utility vehicles, garbage and recycling trucks, and tow trucks, but the goal is to make Alabama roads safer for all who have to stop on the side of the road. Rep. Chris Sells, who is sponsoring the bill, understands the danger because he’s worked as both a tow truck driver and fireman.
In late 2016, Alabama faced a tow tragedy in the death of John Hubbard, who was killed in the line of service. Hubbard was only 25 when a driver hit a disabled vehicle at the accident site he was working. The disabled vehicle then hit Hubbard, taking his life. The accident occurred on I-59.
Unfortunately, John Hubbard’s story is not the only such tragedy to hit the towing industry. The towing world grieves many towers each year and commemorates them with the Wall of the Fallen at the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Though most every state has a version of the Move Over Law, towers have experienced firsthand how these laws aren’t always followed. The next step is raising awareness of the law and the dangers of impaired driving.
As the bill stands now, the fines for a first offense of the Move Over law is $25. The second is $50 and the third is $100. Many don’t believe that’s enough, and Sells says that there is the possibility of the fines being revisited in the future.
Alabama’s bill awaits a third reading and vote in the state’s House of Representatives.
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