'Move over' laws gain new relevance after deadly hit-and-run

After a crash claimed the life of a tow truck driver on Monday, other area drivers are speaking out about the dangers of their job and urging people to follow one simple rule to keep them safe.

Florida's "Move Over Law" mandates drivers move over a lane to give emergency vehicles room or slow down by 20 miles per hour while passing them along the road. The law was initially created for police and firefighters, however, it was extended to included tow trucks as emergency vehicles in 2014.

"The biggest issue is they're not aware of it, and if they are aware of it, they don't respect it," said tow truck driver Ginger Darling of Nationwide Towing.

Darling said each day, tow truck drivers out to do their job, they are faced with a fear of not making it home that evening due to reckless drivers. The fear was thrown into the forefront on Monday when tow truck driver Roger Perez-Burroto was struck and killed on the Howard Franklin Bridge while assisting a couple in need.

Allison Huffman, 36, was arrested and admitted to hitting Perez-Burroto She said she fled the scene out of fear.

"While you're on the side of the road, frankly your adrenaline is pumping," said Darling. "[Getting hit] is a fear, but it's a fear that you put in the back of your mind and you lock in a cabinet, because if you sat there and had that fear constantly going, you wouldn't go out there and do what we do."

Darling said in the past, she has been put in situations where she's had drivers nearly side-swipe her as she's working. Darling, along with other drivers, is hoping the tragic accident will remind people on the road that obeying the law is a matter of life and death for tow truck drivers and other emergency personnel.

"All you have to do is give those people on the side of the road common courtesy," said Darling, "and use caution, that's what we ask you to do. Let us go home."

Drivers who fail to move over could be fined $120 and receive three points on their license.

Up Next:

Up Next

  • 'Move over' laws gain new relevance after deadly hit-and-run
  • 11-year-old found with unloaded gun at elementary school
  • Baby drowns at Brandon apartment complex
  • Girl drowns at Brandon apartment complex
  • Sarasota to keep red light cameras, for now
  • Clearwater Beach pier to get $375,000 facelift
  • Woman blames surgeon after losing arms, legs
  • Hockey fans to join pirates for this weekend's invasion
  • Carjacking suspect arrested after stealing taxi, police say
  • FBI: Marine flares, not IEDs, possibly ignited in Lake Wales mall