On the eve of what is predicted to be the busiest Independence Day Holiday ever for road trips, AAA Washington — in partnership with Clark County Fire District 6 and Chappelle’s Towing, LLC. — released a Public Service Announcement (PSA) asking drivers to follow Washington’s “Slow Down, Move Over” law.
When traveling on a highway with at least two lanes in each direction, drivers who spot flashing emergency lights ahead must proceed with caution. By law, if it is safe to do so, move one lane away from the scene to create a buffer zone for workers. If moving over is not possible, drivers need to slow down to at least 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. On roadways with fewer than four lanes of traffic, drivers approaching an emergency scene need to slow down and yield the right-of-way by passing the scene from a safe distance.
The need to remind drivers of the law became urgent when, in just two months, two tow truck technicians were hit and injured while working to remove the disabled vehicles of AAA members from the interstate.
“As a traffic safety advocacy group and an emergency roadside service provider, educating the driving public is a key part of what we do here at AAA Washington,” said public relations manager, Kelly Just. “We’re using this PSA to explain Washington’s ‘Slow Down, Move Over’ Law, emphasize that tow truck operators are emergency responders and urge drivers to take action and protect these workers who want to go home to their families at the end of the day.”
Shortly after tow truck technician, David Rios, lost his leg in one of these collisions, his employer — Chappelle’s Towing, LLC. — and Clark County Fire District 6 joined AAA Washington to create the PSA with the support of and participation from WSDOT highway crew, WSP troopers and operators from Speed’s Towing, TLC Towing & Recovery, and Triple J Towing.
Just days before these emergency responders assembled at a Clark County Fire District 6 facility to record the PSA, the towing community suffered another tragedy. A Longview, Wash. tow company owner and two others were struck and killed along I-5, further highlighting the dangerous nature of this work and the need for the “Slow Down, Move Over” message.
Analysis by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showed tow truck operators work in one of the most dangerous careers in the U.S. — 15 times deadlier than all other private industries combined. An average of 24 emergency responders, including tow operators, die annually while working along our roadways, that’s one person every other week. That is a number AAA Washington and its partner organizations hope to reverse with its “Slow Down, Move Over” campaign.
About AAA Washington:
AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904. The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its 1.2 million members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s stores in Washington and northern Idaho, at www.AAA.com, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.