AAA fleet driver Doug Hudson fixes a tire along Interstate 10 for David Glavin. "I'm really looking forward to this change because I believe it's going to make things safer not only for me ... but for the general public," Hudson said.

Next time you see a vehicle stranded on the side of the interstate, you must move over, not just feel sorry for the motorist.

It's now the law.

Every day, AAA assists more than 1,200 stranded drivers across Arizona, and workers who help drivers in need say it can be dangerous to be stuck alongside a busy highway with drivers speeding by.

That's why lawmakers passed the "move over" law requiring motorists to move over for any vehicle pulled off in the emergency lane on the freeway, including stranded motorists and emergency roadside-assistance crews, according to a AAA news release.

The law goes into effect today.

Up until this point motorists were required to move over only for emergency vehicles.

"I'm really looking forward to this change because I believe it's going to make things safer not only for me when I'm out helping change someone's tire, but for the general public when they have an emergency," said Doug Hudson, a fleet driver for AAA.

The new law requires drivers who approach a stationary vehicle with flashing lights to switch lanes if it's safe to do so, or reduce speed and proceed with caution if it's unsafe to switch lanes.

In August 2008, an Arizona tow truck driver pulled over to help a stranded motorist and was hit by a truck, according to AAA. Two years before that crash, two tow truck drivers lost their lives while pulling over to give roadside assistance.

"DPS officers have been killed in Arizona by people not paying attention," Hudson said. "We are constantly at danger even with vests and flashing lights, and that's why we feel like this is going to make a big difference."

Now, those failing to move over or slow down may be cited.

"We are hoping that people are more aware when they drive by a vehicle in distress and other vehicles assisting them, not just fire and police vehicles." Hudson said. "Everybody has the right to be safe on the road."

Contact reporter Fernanda Echavarri at fechavarri@azstarnet.com or 572-4224.