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Many drivers unaware they must "move over" for tow trucks
FLORIDA - Most drivers know to slow down or move over when they see a police cruiser or ambulance on the side of the road. But did you know Florida's law also applies to tow trucks? Many drivers don't, as Channel 3's Joe Douglass saw first hand.
Joey Audiffred, the general manager of Fletcher's Towing in Pensacola, said, "It's very unsafe working conditions for us."
Audiffred was not optimistic when he sent one of his drivers out with us to conduct a little experiment.
"They will not," Audiffred said, "People will not move over."
We quickly found out his prediction was right. Several vehicles zoomed right by tow truck driver Chase Spurlock as he loaded and unloaded our car on the side of Interstate Ten.
Lights were flashing, but cars kept coming, not moving over or slowing down the way they're supposed to under the law.
"Sometimes they come pretty close," Spurlock said, "And a lot of times, like right now, you don't have this much space."
Spurlock says he's used to the experience. And often it's even worse.
"When you get up on the bridges, like up on 110 there, there's not this much room," Spurlock explained from the side of I-10, "There's not this grassy shoulder here. Half the work you gotta do is on the white line and people don't move over and they're right next to you."
Under the law, drivers must move out of the lane closest to any emergency vehicle and slow down if there are two or more lanes going in one direction.
"We've had drivers have raincoats ripped off their backs," Audiffred said, "We've had drivers have their vest, their emergency vest ripped off their back. We have had people rear-end our trucks. We had a driver have to jump out of the way to keep from getting run over."
At one point, we saw a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser go by without moving over. And both it and another FHP car we saw failed to pull over other drivers in sight who were not getting out of the way.
An FHP spokesman said the trooper who didn't move over may have just been making sure we were okay. And he said a number of auxiliary officers were on the road at the time who do not have the authority to pull over drivers.
"It'd be nice for a little bit more enforcement," Audiffred said, "Just to make people aware of it."
"Most people don't care," Spurlock said, "They're not even paying attention. They're just doing what they're doing."
Ignoring the "Move Over" law is not only dangerous, it can also be expensive. Tickets can cost drivers upwards of $160...That is, if they get caught.