Inclusion of tow trucks in 'move over' law welcomed by businesses

Published: Apr. 1, 2019 at 7:11 PM MDT
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There's already

requiring drivers to "slow down, and move over" for police and emergency first responder vehicles. But legislation signed by Idaho Gov. Brad Little expands that law to include maintenance vehicles, tow trucks and passenger vehicles with hazard lights. For some tow truck drivers and first responders, the legislation is a welcomed amount of change.

"Safety is a big deal on the interstate when you have cars driving by at 80 miles an hour," said owner of Marky's Super Tow Mark Gaoski. "We had one driver got hit with a mirror as he was next to the tow truck."

"I can give you several examples on the freeway, people don't pay attention to amber lights, you see it all the time," said Filer Fire Department Capt. Dale Mahan. "Semi's don't move over, it's bad."

Tow driving is one of America's most dangerous professions, according to data from the

. From 2011-2016, 191 deaths were reported in the motor vehicle industry, some of those due to drivers being hit by passing vehicles.

"There just as susceptible and vulnerable as we are, when were out dealing with something," said Twin Falls Sheriff's Department Sgt. Ken Mencl.

While the new version of the "slow down, move over legislation" aims to fix many of the problems tow truck drivers encounter when responding to a motor vehicle incident, some in the industry question how it will be enforced.

"All the legislation that they want to sign is great, but enforcing it is another matter," said CEO of A-1 Towing Charles Legg. "They need to put some bit in their legislation and these officers out there need to write some tickets to these people so we can get a stop to it."

"If we see an issue that violates the law as it's spelled out, as the legislature has added the verbiage to include the tow truck driver," Mencl said. "If we see a situation where that driver fails to reduce his speed and or slow down or move over, we'll issue citations."

And while it's too early to see if the legislation will have any real effect, all sides believe it's a step in the right direction.

"I think it will." "Eventually, I think it will. Right off it won't, but I think it will eventually."

The new law signed by Little last week requires drivers to slow down and move over for police, first responder, tow truck, maintenance and passenger vehicles with hazard lights. If approaching one of these vehicles on a two-lane road, with each lane going in the opposite direction, drivers are encouraged to slow down below the speed limit, until they pass the vehicle.