Move Over laws are very important to the towing world. Each year, many tow truck operators lose their lives or are severely injured when they’re struck by a car while working on the side of the road. On July 1st, Iowa expanded its Move Over law to better protect drivers and vehicles parked on the side of the road. The law now requires drivers to change lanes or slow down for any vehicle displaying flashing lights.
Each state has some form of a Move Over law. These laws are intended to protect those who work along the side of the road. While each state’s law varies, most require drivers to change lanes if they are approaching a stopped emergency vehicle on the side of the road if it’s safe to do so. If it’s not safe to change lanes (like if the driver is blocked into their lane by other vehicles) the driver is expected to slow down to a safe speed. This is to prevent accidents in which a moving car strikes a vehicle that is stopped on the side of the highway or road. These accidents can be devastating – many tow truck operators have lost their lives due to these accidents, and others share stories of near-misses in which cars drifted across the line and almost hit them.
The Move Over law in Iowa has gone through several versions. In 2002, the law was introduced. At the time, it only included certain emergency vehicles and maintenance vehicles. Last year, the law was expanded to include utility vehicles and other vehicles working on the side of the road. The most recent version, which went into effect on July 1st, has been expanded to include construction vehicles and passenger cars that are parked on the side of the road – which means that drivers must slow down and move over for any vehicle displaying hazard lights or flashing lights.
The goal is to make it common practice to slow down and move over for any vehicle stopped on the side of the road, whether it’s a passenger car or a tow truck, whether the vehicle has flashing lights or not. Tow trucks were already included in the law, but for the towing industry changes to the law will hopefully prompt more drivers to obey and respect the Move Over law since it now applies to any vehicle stopped on the side of the road. There’s less confusion as to which vehicles the law is representing because it now includes all vehicles with flashing lights.
The Iowa State Patrol wrote 275 tickets for failure to obey the Move Over law just last year.
Iowa is not the only state that has been making changes to its Move Over law. Alabama has expanded its Move Over law to include all vehicles with flashing lights – including passenger cars. It seems as though awareness of Move Over laws is growing at the legislative level, and hopefully, this trend will continue and make the roads safer for tow truck operators everywhere.
Penalties for breaking Iowa’s Move Over law include a fine of over $100. If a driver is the cause of an accident because they failed to adhere to the Move Over law, they could be cited and lose their driver’s license.
Hopefully, the new law will encourage drivers to move over or slow down. Drivers must keep their attention on the road and be scanning ahead to see what’s coming. Distracted driving is dangerous for tow truck operators and drivers alike. By driving defensively and following the Move Over law, drivers can make a big difference and even save lives.
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