The Legislature is considering a bill that would include tow- truck drivers among those protected by the so-called "Move Over" law.
The Roadside Safety Assistance Act, sponsored by Sen. John Nelson, R-Glendale, would amend state law to include tow- truck drivers and highway maintenance operators, as well as the motorists they're assisting, on the list of those that drivers are supposed to move left to avoid while on highways, according to a news release issued by AAA Arizona.
Current law provides this protection to emergency vehicle workers, such as police and fire personnel. Prior to its adoption in 2005, eight Arizona Department of Public Safety officers were killed while performing roadside duties, the release said.
The maximum fine for violating the law is $250, according to the online version of the Arizona Revised Statutes.
Arizona is one of 47 states that have "Move Over" laws. Of those, 38 also protect roadside assistance personnel, the release said.
The prospect of adding tow- truck drivers to the law's protection is a great idea, said Jim Mooney, owner of Tucson-based Frontier Towing.
Mooney said most people don't consider tow trucks and broken-down vehicles as dangers that would necessitate a driver to change lanes to provide a buffer, he said.
"If you see a vehicle on the side of the road, you don't perceive it as a danger because 99.8 percent of people haven't experienced that," Mooney said.
Enforcing the law, though, won't be so easy, Mooney said.
"It would be a post-incident help," he said. "It will be too hard to enforce. It's like speeding. Tons of people do it."
Mooney said most people who actually comply with the current law don't do so because the're trying to be safe, but because they don't want to get ticketed.
The bill unanimously passed a Senate committee Monday and now goes to the full Senate.
Contact reporter Brian J. Pedersen at 573-4224 or firstname.lastname@example.org