FLINT (WJRT) (2/13/2019) - Michigan's expanded Move Over law that took effect on Wednesday specifically covers tow trucks, requiring drivers to slow down and give plenty of space when passing one that has its lights on.
That's welcome news to operators at Mike's Wrecker in Saginaw. A wrecker operator from the company was hit and killed last year while helping a motorist alongside the road.
“You know people don't just pay attention,” Mike’s Wrecker driver Marty Bethune.
One small slip up or someone not paying attention can be the difference between life and death.
“It can be scary you know you are standing out there somebody is driving on an icy road and going about 60 mph,” Bethune said.
Tow truckers experience those situations every day.
"You just got to keep your head on a swivel and you always got to assume they might hit you,” Bethune said.
"You know it's the nature of the beast that we signed up to do,” U.S. 23 Auto Care driver Justin Passmore said.
One year ago Tommy Tripp, a wrecker driver from Saginaw, was hit and killed while working along Dixie Highway. Wednesday night, he should be celebrating his 42nd birthday with his family and friends.
A wreath still hangs up inside Mike's Wrecker, where he worked for more than a decade. On the ribbon along with Tripp's name, you see the message “slow down, mover over”.
"You know, we miss him. He was a hard worker and a great guy. On a day like this, he would be working sun up to sun down. So, we miss him,” Bethune said.
Passmore is one of the lucky ones. His truck was hit last summer while he was attempting to flip a car in the middle of I-475.
He’s feeling relieved to know there's a law out there working to protect his life.
"A little bit more safety. A little more comfort to tell you the truth,” Passmore said.