Aiken, S.C. (WJBF) – More than half of the first responders and workers killed on the roadways each year are tow truck drivers.
That’s why a nationwide movement was created: Spirit Ride, which will be making its way through Aiken Wednesday.
“Tow lives matter, too,” Jeff Corbitt, owner of Wayne’s Automotive and Towing Center said.
According to SCDOT, at least 100 first responders and tow-truck drivers are killed while working on the roadways each year, and 60 account for those men and women who tow cars.
Corbitt is also the president of The Towing and Recovery Association. He explains tow truck drivers are the “lost” workers that people tend to look past when accidents happen.
“Law enforcement can be there as they need to be, and the other services: Fire Departments. EMS. But until a tow truck gets there, nothing moves,” He said.
The Spirit Ride’s mission is to raise awareness of the Move Over Law while honoring fallen workers killed on the road side. A casket is passed from city to city throughout the nation for that purpose, and It will make its way through Aiken Wednesday, April 18th.
Although South Carolina implemented the Move Over Law in 2002, Corbitt doesn’t feel it is being properly executed: “We don’t have the big lobbyists and everything like the others have, so we kind of seem to be on the back burner, but our lives are just as important.”
Corbitt told us the law should apply to everyone– None his staff has ever fallen in the line of duty, but a tragedy has occurred. A tow-man was changing a flat tire along a highway when a distracted driver drifted over and killed one of his customers.
“If you are ever on the interstate and hearing sticks rumbling, when they are running off the road making noise, that’s the sign you are either running or you’re looking,” Corbitt said.
Drivers approaching a work zone or emergency scene are required by the Move Over Law to slow down and change to a lane that is away from the scene.
Failing to do so in South Carolina is considered a misdemeanor and can cost you up to $500.
Wednesday’s Spirit Ride ceremony will kick off at 10 a.m. at Aiken Fairgrounds. A procession to St. Augustine Florida will follow.