A HONK PSA: Slow Down, Move Over, Save Lives

It’s October and it’s high time we have discussions about the importance surrounding the safety of tow truck operators, and all the ways we can get involved to help spread awareness about Move Over laws. Naturally this month, we’re thinking about candy, virtual costume parties, and of course, all things pumpkin-flavored. And while Covid-19 has changed many things over the last 7 months, one thing has remained constant– and that is our need to continue raising awareness around Move Over laws nationwide.

By now it should be no secret that every 6 days a tow truck operator is killed in the line of duty. To put things into perspective, according to a recent study by NIOSH, the fatality rate is 15 times higher among towing and roadside operators than it is among all other private industry jobs combined. In fact, to date, we have lost 38 heros (this includes tow operators, police officers, fire/EMS, and mobile mechanics) from struck-by accidents in 2020 alone. That is 38 men and women who leave behind spouses and children, co-workers, and friends. The heart-breaking reality is that these deaths are almost all preventable. So, we’re asking the question – what is being done to change this?

Move Over laws originated in 1994 and have since expanded to include various versions of the law in all 50 states. Without diving too much into the complexities of each individual state’s law, a slow down move law can be defined as such – when you see flashing emergency lights stopped on the side of the road, you need to slow your vehicle’s speed and if possible, move over a lane to give the emergency workers ample space to operate. 

This simple maneuver can save the lives of not only tow operators and first responders but also the motorist that is in need. The problem today is that around 71% of the motoring public remains unaware of Move Over laws according to NHTSA.

So what are we doing about it?

As of today, a National Move Over Day has been implemented to increase awareness of these laws and to honor the individuals whose lives have been lost. This year it’s on Saturday, October 17, 2020. Towing associations across the nation have taken steps to increase these efforts for years. And we believe that it is our duty to do the same. Our Service Provider Partner network is the core of our business and their lives are what matter the most to us. We believe it is our duty to highlight the dangers our Partners face on jobs every single day. This month, HONK’s Get Hooked podcast will be solely focused on the importance of slowing down and moving over.  We’ll be talking with Angela Roper Barnett, a 24-year tow industry veteran, Executive Director of the Arizona, Georgia, Tennessee, and Utah tow associations and a strong advocate of Move Over laws.

Ms. Roper Barnett established the first-ever Move Over Day parade in October 2016 and has since helped put on Slow Down Move Over events across the country. 

“There is no one thing that will save our lives out there on the roadway, it is a combination of many things. Most importantly it is creating awareness to the motoring public that responders’ lives matter. So please slow down, move over and stop distracted driving.”  

 – Angela Roper Barnett

Hosting a podcast is not all that we’re doing. In addition to implementing safety tows to make HONK jobs safer for our Partners, we’re sponsoring Slow Down Move Over events and releasing a public service announcement video that will help spread awareness to the general motoring public – watch it now and be sure to share it on your social media channels.  

If you want to help spread the word about Slow Down, Move Over, join us! We’ve put together an entire page full of resources that will help you spread the message. 

For more information and updates about HONK be sure to follow us at facebook.com/honk4help and on Instagram @honkforhelp. If you are interested in becoming a HONK Partner, visit www.joinhonk.com and sign up for free today!