Gov. Signs Move Over Law Expansion To Include All Roadside Motorists
OKLAHOMA CITY - Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a new law into effect Tuesday, expanding the state's Move Over laws.
AAA and a coalition of tow truck drivers have been pushing for the change, which aims to protect even more motorists. Drivers are already required to slow down or move over for emergency vehicles, but now anyone with flashing lights on the side of the road will have the same protection.
For nearly two years, Oklahoma has been making progress towards fewer fatalities on the roadside. Tow truck drivers with flashing red and blue lights were added to the Move Over statute in 2017. That year, the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office reported 10,089 crashes involving people on the side of the road.
Joe Snell has been towing cars for 11 years and said he has not noticed much change since the last law took effect, adding that motorists get too close to him at least twice a day. Careless drivers still hit and kill around 60 tow truck operators nationwide each year.
“Right now, they’re still staying in that lane, won’t get over,” Snell said.
He believes a police crackdown might make a difference, but lawmakers and first responders alike encourage you to simply think about the lives at stake.
“Everybody already has that engrained that they need to move over for public safety,” said Sen. Brent Howard (R-Altus), who co-authored the bill, “but it’s just as important to focus on family members.”
Drivers like you and me may be focused on whatever caused us to pull over, but professionals know the danger of not being aware.
“Once you jump out the truck, you’ve got to observe the situation, go from there,” Snell advised.
He had his own close call when a pickup came within two feet of where he was standing.
“I kind of had to dart away from him and jump in between,” remembered Snell. “That was the closest one, and he never looked up.”
He was one of the lucky ones. He hopes the expansion means more Oklahomans will live to drive another day, too.
The new law goes into effect Nov. 1, 2019, but you can start saving lives right now by simply sharing the road.