Most states including Georgia have a move over law that requires drivers to slow down and move over a lane when approaching emergency vehicles on the shoulder of the road. While the law may be there, awareness of it is often lacking. But one Americus tow truck operator is working to change that.
Curt Peacock, a fourth-generation manager and truck operator at his family-owned Peacock Towing in Americus is on a mission to save lives.
“Seventy-percent of the country doesn’t know about the move over law. So if we can get the word out there and save some lives, it’s all been worth it,” Peacock said.
Peacock Towing hosted the American Spirit Ride on Saturday in Americus– to raise awareness of the move over law.
Peacock realizes from his own close calls on the job that the law itself is not enough to get some drivers to follow the rules of safety.
“I’ve had a few [close calls]. One, there was actually a policeman there. And he was talking to the driver away from traffic. It was at night and the [other] driver wasn’t paying attention, and I had to jump up on the back of the truck to avoid being hit,” Peacock recalled.
“I’ve been around for about 19 years. I’ve never been hit by a vehicle, but I’ve had my fingertip get clipped. But that was years before a move over law was even thought of,” said Sergeant First Class Ed Odum, who serves as post commander of the Georgia State Patrol Office in Americus.
The troopers of the Americus GSP post see it all as they perform their jobs to keep us all safe.
“Most people don’t think about how fast they’re actually traveling when you convert miles-per-hour to feet-per-second. They’re actually moving a whole lot faster than they grasp,” said Trooper David Greene of the Americus Georgia State Patrol post and network liaison to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.
“When you get in a vehicle, you are piloting a two-ton missile, operated on petroleum fuel. It’s a dangerous situation all the way around,” SFC Odum said.
Georgia law does not mandate that motorists have to move over to another lane if non-emergency vehicles are parked on the side of the road. However, doing so is the safe and common sense thing to do.
“Most people trust their driving, so ‘I don’t have to get over because I know I’m paying attention and nothing’s going to happen,’ but it’s called an accident for a reason,” Peacock said.
Both Georgia and Alabama have move over laws. Both states are very similar. In each state, motorists should slow down and pull over a lane away from emergency vehicles parked on the road shoulder. If moving over is not possible due to heavy traffic volumes or other unsafe conditions, both states require motorists to slow down beyond posted speed limits.
In Alabama, the law requires a driver must slow to at least 15-miles-per hour under the posted speed limit.
Both states require motorists to observe the move over law for any emergency vehicles with flashing lights.