A nationwide campaign to bring attention to the Move Over law made a stop in Kernersville, Wednesday.
The Spirit Ride kicked off its second year touring the country with a casket symbolizing the funeral for a first responders who has been killed while working.
The campaign's organizers hoped the somber dramatization will remind people of the need to move over or slow down, not just when they see the blue lights of law enforcement or red lights of fire rescue or ambulance but also the amber lights of tow trucks.
"We choose to honor them by remembering them and by doing what we can to protect those who walk the white lines," said Ilce Corbin said in her opening remarks at the event. Corbin organized the campaign with her husband Mike, who was once hit while working to tow a stranded vehicle.
"This campaign is important it's not just about the law but we are talking about saving lives," she said. The Move Over law was put in place in many states starting in 2002. It requires drivers to slow down or move over when an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the roadway.
However, many tow truck drivers report that people are ignoring their lights and speeding past at a very high rate. A situation that has added more angst to what the U.S Labor Department described as one of the most dangerous jobs in the country.
"We get dispatched out a lot of times on the busier streets, interstate such as 40. Sometimes we're inches away from being that guy, there on the side of the road laid out," said Brandon Hedrick, a tow truck operator who said he worries about not getting home to his family every day.
"A lot of these trucks have their controls on the driver's side which usually puts us standing on the white line meaning cars are running right behind us." Hendrick has been rescuing stranded drivers for the past 8 years.
"Every day in the United States a fire truck and a police car or tow truck gets here on one of these major highways from people texting and driving and not paying attention and feeling to slow down and move over, " said Boyd Hart a Kernersville Fire Rescue battalion chief.
According to Hart, responding to emergencies on the highway, next to speeding vehicles is dangerous for any first responder. But he said it is especially dangerous for tow truck operators.
"A tow truck comes out and gets one car and it's just one truck by itself and a lot of times he has no protection and a car something attention to dinner just going to hit him," added Hart as he emphasized the need for people to heed this law.
Hendrick said a campaign like The Spirit Ride, which has already made stops in many cities and states and included convoys of tow trucks, have helped to raise awareness.
"If we have a little more time where we're not trying to rush, we can make sure those cars are secure, or those trucks are secure when we are towing them. That way your family is safe coming down the road as well," added Hendrick.
Drivers who violate this law and do not move over for tow trucks and other emergency vehicles risk paying a $250 fine.