Missouri is one of a handful of states which has enacted laws requiring motorists to ‘move over’ in the presence of emergency vehicles or police stopped along the side of the road rendering assistance or simply performing the functions of their job. The death last week of a tow truck driver killed while helping a stranded motorist has some in the state asking if the law goes far enough.

Kansas City police told reporters that tow trucks were not included in the state’s “move over” law, which requires motorists to switch lanes for emergency vehicles or slow down if they cannot. This is at odds with what the Missouri Highway Patrol and tow truck drivers themselves believed to be the case.

According to the Missouri Highway Patrol, the state’s “move over” law was enacted in 2002 as a Class C misdemeanor. In 2006, the penalty of the law was increased to a Class A misdemeanor and the crimes of involuntary manslaughter and second-degree assault were modified to include violations of the “move over” statute.

Blake Gresham, 18, was killed last week on the Christopher S. Bond Bridge. His truck was stopped, his emergency lights flashing, while the tow operator hooked up a stranded vehicle. Unfortunately the flashing lights and assorted equipment in use was not enough to convince at least one driver to move over and give him clearance.

Also, the law does not clearly state whether or not tow trucks drivers are covered. In fact, although the state tow truck association was involved in petitioning for and helping to get the law passed, even they are unsure if tow truck drivers are adequately covered.

Despite this confusion the death of Blake Gresham has spurred many to seek a clearer definition of the law and a special emphasis on protecting tow truck drivers along with anyone else helping someone on the side of the road. And all it really takes is some common sense for drivers to ‘move over’ when they see stopped vehicles.