How the Move Over Law protects towing drivers

Michael James

The Move Over Law protects towing company drivers and other emergency responders.

Roadside accidents are tragic. In a brief moment, individuals may be permanently injured or killed. Rules of safe driving are designed to help prevent accidents, but they still happen. Too often, accidents occur because of drivers’ unfamiliarity with safety laws.

Many drivers, for example, are not familiar with the Move Over Law. But by following the Move Over Law, drivers can protect emergency response personnel, towing drivers and stranded motorists from injury or death while they’re on the side of the road.

The Move Over Law

The Move Over Law is a law about drivers’ safety. In more than 40 U.S. states, including California, drivers are required to “move over” when emergency vehicles are present and displaying flashing emergency lights. Stranded drivers can also be protected by flashing their hazard lights.

The Move Over Law protects towing company drivers and other emergency responders.
The Move Over Law protects towing company drivers and other emergency responders.

Drivers must move over to a non-adjacent lane so the emergency towing driver and other responders can safely navigate the area. If this is not practical or safe, drivers are required to slow down to a speed safe for current conditions (including weather, road, and traffic conditions). Drivers must be prepared to stop or move out of the way to protect people or items that could come into their lane.

All drivers who obey this law by moving over for any vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road can save lives by doing so. Failure to follow this law may result in a fine of several hundred dollars, and it may also cause serious injury or death for those involves in an accident or collision.

How Tow Truck Drivers are Affected

The Move Over Law was designed to protect drivers of emergency vehicles, including tow truck drivers. A tow truck driver providing towing services may fall victim to a preventable accident when he responds to a call for emergency roadside assistance if nearby drivers fail to obey the Move Over Law.

Towing drivers are responsible many for roadside services — accident removal, towing a broken-down vehicle, changing a flat tire on the side of the freeway or delivering fuel to a motorist whose car has run out of gas

A truck driver is killed in the United States every six days while providing roadside service or towing services. Highway workers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, and others are also killed. It’s a hazard of working in the towing industry.

But it shouldn’t be. Towing services are indispensable to every driver, and doing their jobs should not have to be a life-or-death situation. The Move Over Law exists to protect professional towing technicians while they’re helping stranded drivers.

Drivers unfamiliar with this law should take care to familiarize themselves with what they must do so they can protect towing drivers and other emergency responders and individuals on the side of the road. Unlawful drivers who ignore this law may become responsible for the death or serious injury of a towing technician performing his or her job.

Professional towing technicians sacrifice a lot for their work, and drivers can protect them by following the Move Over Law.


Article Last Updated: April 14, 2017.

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