Move Over: Law protecting emergency workers expands to include utility trucks

Published: Jun. 30, 2017 at 10:26 PM CDT
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Missouri motorists are being reminded to 'move over' for an expanded number of emergency vehicles on state roads. As of this week, the state law requiring drivers to be cautious around roadside emergency vehicles now includes utility vehicles.

Jason Harden is one vehicle operator who already knows the importance of roadway safety.

"I love the tow [truck] life. It is never the same thing twice," said the tow truck operator with Terry's Auto Service and Towing.

As with any career, there are good days, and there are bad.

"Just the other day I almost got hit on the side of the highway," he explained.

Tow truck drivers, working on the side of the road, face a lot of danger.

"People get this close to you," he said while forming a foot-long space with his hands. "You can feel them. you can feel them go by."

in recent years, changes to Missouri law allowed tow truck companies to use red and blue emergency lights like fire trucks, ambulances, and police cars. They also came under the scope of the Move Over Law, which stipulates drivers must slide over give over to give responders more space.

"I don't want to take that chance on getting hit. I don't want my family to get that call saying your husband or your dad has been hit by a car," said Harden.

Utility trucks, responding to critical situations like gas leaks and power problems, have also had the ability to use the red and blue lights.

"Our crews do feel safer. They feel it draws more attention to the fact there is something going on," said Joel Alexander, spokesman for City Utilities of Springfield. "They face some of the dangers that the law enforcement and fire departments do. You also have our crews working on dangerous situations just like the others."

And now they will also fall under the Move over Law -- approved by the Missouri Legislature and Gov. Eric Greitens.

"We are very happy this has been signed into effect, so it provides safety for our workers but also for the people driving by that, too," said Alexander.

While lights and laws are good reminders to move over, drivers are urged to do their part and follow through.

"It is tough out there, and people need to realize that just scooting over can save our lives," Harden said.

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