Iowa expands the Move Over Law to give more room for those on the edge of the road

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The courtesy of changing lanes or slowing down when a stationary car’s hazard lights are on, come Sunday, July 1 in Iowa it will be required for all cars as part of an expansion to the Move Over Law.

The Iowa Department of Transportation released a video of a crash earlier this week showing the importance of moving over. 

The agency said no one was seriously injured in the two-vehicle crash new Des Moines, but the Move Over Law is meant to help avoid these types of wrecks. 

The Move Over Law currently applies to emergency vehicles, tow trucks, garbage trucks and utility crews.

In 2018, Iowa lawmakers added to the list construction vehicles and passenger cars that are on the side of the road.

The goal is to make moving over of slowing down as common as braking for a stop sign.

For those who work on the edge of the road, they said it’s not a want but a need for them to do their job.

Teo’s Towing Tow Truck Driver Greg Garrow said, “They’ve [cars] come close enough where we’ve had to jump behind the truck or up on the truck cause they’re right on the white line when we’re on the shoulder.”

Greg Garrow with Teo’s Towing in Davenport said drivers wear plenty of high-vis clothing and they’ve decked out the trucks in lights.
He added they also take the step of sending two people and two trucks to calls.
It’s all to provide a safer place to work.

Garrow said, “When you’re busy hooking up, or you’re underneath the vehicle, you don’t see what’s coming. At least we’ve got somebody who can warn us or try to flag the drivers over to the next lane.”

Close calls are something Tyler Petersen with Downtown Auto Clinic in Clinton can relate to, but he said one of the biggest reason behind them are distracted drivers. 

Downtown Auto Clinic tow truck driver Tyler Petersen said, “We have a lot of money invested into lights and stuff, a lot of trucks do. Road workers, tow trucks, everybody and it don’t matter you know, they’re still on their phone, they can’t see their lights, and they still run into you.”

As Iowa implements an expended move over law, it’s Petersen’s hope it will raise a bit more awareness as to what drivers’ responsibilities are behind the wheel.

Iowa State Patrol Trooper Dan Loussaert said, “The law doesn’t say you have to move over, it just says you have to move over if you can safely do so. When you can’t safely do so, you’re just required to slow down and drive by at a safe speed.”

The Iowa State Patrol said not doing so can costs drivers a $195 citation. 

Garrow said, “Hopefully they’ll enforce it a little more. It’s just supposed to be common courtesy. I learned that in drivers ed.”

Trooper Lousseart said if drivers have an emergency, the safest thing to do is pull over to their right and as far off the road as they can. 

Iowa State Patrol said more than 100 Move Over citations have been issued so far this year.

In 2017, they topped 275 of those tickets.

However, those numbers have been down in recent years in part because they said the State Patrol has fewer troopers and that makes it harder for them to enforce. 

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