Police: Move over for tow truck operators too

Driving in South Austin Wednesday morning, there was no shortage of police officers.

“I have about 19 officers working with me. With me about 20 officers so we will have a very large effort going on,” said Detective Patrick Oborski with APD.

The effort is an initiative to get drivers to obey the state's Move Over Law. Police set up a tow truck on the highway's shoulder and pulled over cars who were not complying. Drivers should always change lanes when approaching any emergency vehicle on a shoulder, or if you can't move over, slow down by 20 mph.

“We have done several of these initiatives with the police vehicles, still not getting very much success with compliance,” said Oborski.

The Move Over Law was put on the books in 2003. An amendment in 2013 added TXDOT vehicles and tow trucks. 

“We've had a driver have their arm skimmed, rearview mirror hit,” said Tasha Mora, co-owner of A&A Wrecker and Recovery.

Officials want the public to know that tow truck operators are first responders too. According to research from AAA, a tow truck driver is struck and killed once every six days.

“We've had vehicles who actually drive on top of a parked tow truck that's loading another vehicle. Drivers have been pinned, police officers have been pinned,” said Mora.

This is the first time APD has partnered with a towing company. They set up on I-35 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., handing out education and mostly warnings that can save the lives of police, fire, EMS, tow truck operators, and many others.

“People just don't move over they are so in tuned with their phones, music and everything else. They just don't pay attention,” said Oborski.

Police are hoping each driver they pull over can reach five other people with the information. A violation of this law is a Class C misdemeanor, punishable with an up to $500 fine.