AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – According to AAA, one tow truck driver is killed every other week while working on the roadside.
The company, along with local towing companies, want people to make moving over for all roadside vehicles their New Year’s resolution.
“We actually have first hand instances with my cousin getting hit from a driver who failed to heed the road closed signs, so it kind of hits home for us,” said Kathryn Watkins with Watkins Towing. “We have friends in the industry, too, that have been hit and killed. You go out and you never know if it’ll be your last time towing, or if you’ll make it home just because somebody doesn’t pay attention.”
“Move Over Laws” are in place in Georgia and South Carolina, which require drivers to move over when an emergency vehicle or tow truck is on the side of the road.
The fine for violating this is up to $500.
But, a recent AAA survey finds that 42% of people who don’t comply with the move over law, think that it’s not dangerous or only somewhat dangerous to roadside workers.
“He’s got bumped by mirrors and stuff as he’s loading up cars on the side of the road,” said Kathryn Watkins, talking about her husband, Justin. “And like I said, our cousin that got hit right out front of our shop on our closed road that you wouldn’t think anybody would come down.”
According to AAA, an average of 24 emergency responders, including tow truck drivers, are hit and killed on the roadside every year.
Kathryn and Justin Watkins, along with nonprofits such as Highway Angels, want to make people aware of this issue, and stressed the importance of paying attention.
“Be aware of your surroundings, slow down for any lights, whether they’re amber, blue, white, red,” Kathryn Watkins said. “Take into consideration the weather conditions, that’s another big thing. We have a lot of instances of wrecks in the rain or winter weather.”
Remember to move over and slow down when you see anyone working or waiting on help on the side of the road, because you just might save a life.