HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - Every day, tow truck drivers respond to highways and interstates for stranded motorists, but they say too often drivers speed past them, putting their lives in danger.
Towing companies hope the tougher “Move Over” law will cause drivers to think twice.
There are tougher penalties if you don’t move over for a police officer or first responder that’s on the side of the highway. Now tow companies want to remind drivers that it applies to them too.
Sometimes getting that call can cause anxiety.
"Because you know that area is dangerous,” one tow truck driver said.
Other times, it’s due to another reason.
"We don't have any police there to guard us,” another driver added.
"We’re out there alone and there’s nobody else there. It's just you,” George Clarke said.
Clarke works at Broyles Wrecker Service where drivers do not respond to repossessed cars, nor do they tow cars away from apartments and businesses.
"You're there to help them and provide a service and get people out of harm's way,” he said.
They show up for stranded motorists or when police ask them to help when there's an accident. That often involves interstates, and often during rush hour.
"There's only one thing people are focused on doing and that's getting to work,” he said.
It gets dangerous.
"When you’re laying underneath a tractor-trailer and you’re hooking up to it. All you can see is underneath the tractor-trailer and you don’t know what’s going by you. You just hear stuff and the ground moving beside you, people wheezing by. You have no way of knowing what’s coming. You can’t see. All you can do is hear,” Clarke said.
That’s why there’s an amended law on the books that went into effect in July. No longer will a driver just get a ticket if he or she fails to move over. Now, it’s a misdemeanor crime - reckless driving. That can come with up to a year in jail and a $2,500 fine.
"This is something that hits really close to home…It's my dad that's on the side of the road. It's my husband that's on the side of the road…One small move and it could take that away from all of us,” Jennifer Broyles said.
"We’re just people out there to do a job to help you, to help people. That’s what we’re here for, and we just want to go home,” Clarke said.
The law also applies to police, fire trucks and VDOT trucks, but some tow truck drivers feel drivers forget about them. Now there’s a good reason to make sure you don’t.
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