HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- As Virginia's "Move Over" law is set to expand to cover all drivers in July, AAA Mid-Atlantic has equipped one of its tow trucks to remind drivers of the current law and not wait to give others space.
"The current law in Virginia for the next 30-plus days or so says if you're a driver and you come up on red, blue, or amber lights on the side of the roadway — emergency lights — you should slow down and move over if possible," said spokesperson Morgan Dean. "Starting July 1, thanks to a change in that law, it would also extend slow down move over protections to any stationary vehicle displaying hazard lights, a flare or an emergency sign on the vehicle like a reflective triangle."
"The idea is the law should protect anyone along the side of the road. Between 2016 and 2020, here in Virginia, 28 people were killed on the roadside outside of a stationary vehicle like a disabled vehicle."
The new digital sign, which can be changed to display various messages to remind drivers to move over, was installed in the tow truck driven by Richmond Fleet Operations Manager Raymond Elkins, who said he has towed close to 200 cars off the highway during his 25 years in the business and had his share of close calls with drivers.
"I would say probably 65%. I've been close to being really hit on the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Maryland," said Elkins.
He added that he is glad to see the law expanded, but now it needs to be enforced.
"All it takes us for somebody to step out. And it's tragedy. And it all starts as soon as you pull over and your lights come on. That's when the big danger starts for anybody."
As for Elkins, the four words associated with the law, "Slow Down, Move Over," mean a great deal to him.
"Going home to my family. That's what it means," said Elkins. "I'm a new grandfather, so, I want to spend time with my granddaughter and I can't if I'm dead. Plain and simple."
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