Links to B-roll and interviews from Sunday’s tow truck driver procession is provided here:
HARTFORD, CT (July 15, 2021) - The tragic death of a AAA tow truck driver in Ohio highlights the risks faced by emergency first responders here in Connecticut and around the country.
More than 80 drivers participated in a procession in honor of 32-year old Glenn Ewing during his funeral service this past weekend. The tow truck driver was killed on July 4th while placing a disabled vehicle on the back of a flatbed on the side of the road.
“When one of our colleagues is lost, we’re all affected,” says Glenn Chamberland, Manager of the AAA Fleet in Greater Hartford. “He died while helping a driver on the side of the road – it can happen to any one of us.”
Ewing’s death illustrates why Move Over laws are critical to safety - and Connecticut has one of the strongest move over laws in the country. The best thing drivers can do to keep someone on the side of the road safe is slow down, and move over into the next lane if you can do so safely. It's not just a good idea, it's the law.
“We can’t stress enough how important it is that drivers move over and change lanes when they see AAA or any other first responder working in and around traffic,” Chamberland added. “By doing so you are also potentially saving someone’s life.”
Move Over laws exist in all 50 states. AAA and other traffic safety advocates have been instrumental in the passage of laws to better protect tow truck drivers, other first responders and everyone on our roadways.
“First responders work tirelessly to make the roads safer for all of us," says Connecticut State Police Sergeant James Nicholson. "In return they ask to be afforded a safe place to work in order to perform their job so that they may return to their families each day. We encourage everyone to please slow down and move over for these workers, and help spread the word. It’s not just the law. It’s the right thing to do.”
Distractions Behind the Wheel
As more people hit the roads after confinement and summer travel, the number of vehicles on the road is increasing and the risks associated with distractions increase. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the national traffic safety research arm of AAA, found that drivers are four times more likely to crash if they are talking on a cell phone while driving and eight times more likely to be in a crash if texting.
“Drivers talking on a phone or otherwise distracted may not readily see a vehicle on the side of the road in enough time to safely move over to the next lane,” says Amy Parmenter, spokesperson for AAA in Greater Hartford. “In safety, split seconds count.”
Connecticut’s Move Over Law
Connecticut's Move Over law (Sec. 14-283b) requires all drivers on a highway of two lanes or more in one direction to slow down and, if safe to do so, move over one lane not only for emergency responders and tow drivers, but for any vehicle along the side of the road. If a driver is unable to move over a lane, he/she is required to slow down and proceed with caution.
In Connecticut, the original law took effect in 2009 to reduce risk to law-enforcement officers, emergency responders and tow operators. It was expanded in 2017 to apply to every stationary vehicle along the roadside.
A violation of Connecticut's 'move over' law is an infraction, unless it causes death or injury to the emergency vehicle driver. If the driver is injured, the violator faces a maximum $2,500 fine. If the driver is killed, the violator faces a maximum $10,000 fine.
AAA and its traffic safety partners will strengthen advocacy and community awareness throughout the year, including ‘National Move Over Day” which happens every third Saturday in October.