AAA, IBA team up for effort to prevent tragedy during roadside assistance

AURORA, Ill. (WLS) -- The American Automobile Association and the Illinois Broadcasters Associations teamed up for a new effort to get drivers to slow down and move over.

The effort is a way to remind motorists to "do the right thing" in order to avoid roadside tragedies.

Truck drivers who stop on the road are especially at risk. The owner of Joe's Towing in Central Illinois said his two sons were responding to an emergency when one was killed.

"So Noah jumped in the driver's seat that he was close to and he's watching out his rearview mirror when another vehicle that was distracted by something and did not slow down, did not move over, coming off the interstate into the ditch and was headed right at my older son Josh," said Bruce Pedigo, Joe's Towing owner.

State law requires people slow down and move over for emergency service and maintenance vehicles.

Full statement by AAA and IBA:

"Last year, even as traffic volumes fell as much as 50 percent across the state, AAA crews in Illinois responded to over 25,000 member service requests on the side of highways and interstates. As more people return to the road this spring, AAA and the Illinois Broadcasters Association are teaming up to remind motorists to "do the right thing" by slowing down and moving over when they see a disabled vehicle on the side of the road. In Illinois, motorists are required by law to do so for emergency, service and maintenance vehicles.

'The roadside is a dangerous place for both motorists who break down and the professionals who come to assist them,' said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA - The Auto Club Group. 'We're asking for everyone to do their part by slowing down and moving over anytime they see a vehicle on the side of the road.'

According to the CDC, one automotive service provider, on average, is killed in the line of duty every other week, making the towing industry 15 times deadlier than all other private industries combined.

To protect roadside workers and improve highway safety, AAA offers these precautionary tips:
  • Always remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on the task of driving.

  • Maintain a visual lead of everything going on 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. This gives you time to see problems ahead and change lanes and adjust speed accordingly.

  • Emergencies can occur anywhere on the road. When you see flashing lights, slow down and prepare well in advance to change lanes. Allow others to merge into your lane when necessary.

  • Don't follow semi-trucks or other large vehicles too closely. If a truck moves into a left-hand lane, don't speed around the right side. They are changing lanes for a reason; be prepared to change lanes yourself.

  • When road conditions are slick, don't make sudden lane changes which can cause an uncontrollable skid. Change lanes early and move over gradually.


  • If you are unable to move over, slow down to a safe speed taking into consideration that you are approaching a workspace where pedestrians are present.

Motorists who are waiting for assistance on the roadside should protect themselves by staying in their vehicle and remaining buckled until assistance arrives.

While all fifty states have 'slow down, move over' laws for emergency responders, which includes tow trucks, fewer than 30 percent of Americans know about these laws, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). AAA has partnered with the Illinois Broadcasters Association on a public education campaign, which is currently airing on television and soon on radio stations across the state.

'The Illinois Broadcasters Association greatly appreciates the partnership with AAA-the Auto Club Group and their underwriting support in helping educate Illinois' citizens of the importance of following the rules of Scott's Law by way of an exclusive Illinois 'Move Over' broadcast media public education campaign currently airing on our many member TV (and soon radio) stations throughout the state,' said Dennis Lyle, president and CEO. 'Special thanks to IBA-member WREX-TV in Rockford for producing the extremely creative and convincing broadcast campaign.'

About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 14 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 60 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA's mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn."
Copyright © 2021 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.