Tow Truck Drivers Remind Tulsans To Move Over Or Slow Down
TULSA, Oklahoma - The Move Over Law has been on the books in Oklahoma since 2002. It requires drivers to move over to another lane if a law enforcement vehicle is on the side of the road.
Tow truck drivers want you to remember that the public needs to move over for them as well, thanks to a provision added to the law in 2008.
In light of the recent death of an Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper while assisting a driver on the side of the road, tow truck drivers used Monday evening as a way to remind drivers that you need to keep an eye out for them as well.
Highway 169 Northbound near 71st Street is a busy area; and as hundreds of cars passed Monday, area tow truck drivers took it as a perfect time to send a message: Move Over or Slow Down, and not just for emergency vehicles.
"We spend 12 or 13 hours a day on the side of the road," said tow truck driver, Terry Hawkersmith.
Hawkersmith remembers one of his closer calls during a recent snowstorm, after a driver didn't want to stop at a barricade.
"He started down the hill and lost control and slid over. The back end of his vehicle hit me and threw me into a ditch," he said.
The President of the Oklahoma Wreckers Association said 168 wrecker operators are killed each year in the United States.
“Anybody you see out here is here to help people trying to get home and make sure they get home safe,” Hawkersmith said. “We need to get home safe too.”
Moments after setting up shop along Highway 169 Tulsa Police stopped as well, ready to write tickets to the tow drivers.
"If there is no bona fide emergency out here can't be there with emergency equipment on," Tim Lewandowski with Tulsa Police said.
He said police were receiving calls about near-miss collisions due to a backup because of Monday's gathering.
Instead of writing tickets, police asked the tow truck drivers to move, and the drivers did so willingly.
"None of us are here to get anyone in trouble. We don't want anyone to get tickets,” Hawkersmith said. “It is more about getting people to wake up when driving and look at the side of the roads."
Once they moved from 169, the tow truck drivers got permission to park along a road in Sapulpa.
Law enforcement said the Move Over Law is a good one to have, but can be tough to enforce. OHP said it does whatever it can to enforce it, but it boils down to making sure the public knows what they need to do in order to keep everyone safe.