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Organizers hope ride shows importance of 'slow down and move over'

At Gray's Towing in Havelock, they are all too familiar with how dangerous working on the side of the road can be. That's why they've jumped at the chance to participate in American Townman's Spirit Ride to remind driver to slow down and move over. (Nicole Griffin, NewsChannel 12 photo)

Slow down and move over.

That's the law when you see a first responder or tow truck driver on the side of the road. But those who do those kind of jobs say that's not what drivers are doing. At Gray's Towing in Havelock, they are all too familiar with how dangerous working on the side of the road can be. That's why they've jumped at the chance to participate in American Townman's Spirit Ride to remind driver to slow down and move over.

Firefighters, EMS and tow truck drivers all came out in their trucks to show support for the cause. They paid their respects to the spirit casket, representing the first responders who were killed working on the side of the road. According to event organizers, over 100 responders a year die that way, with 60 percent of them being tow truck drivers.

Michael Gray, who owns Gray's Towing, said he's had two of his trucks get hit but, luckily, nobody was killed.

"Your heart kind of sinks and the first thing you think about is 'is my guy OK?'" Gray said. "Because I can replace a truck. I can't replace a dad or a friend or a driver.

According to the National Safety Commission, 71 percent of Americans do not know the law requires drivers to move over one lane. That's why everyone who participated in Friday's event hopes this raises awareness.

Since the spirit ride kicked off last year, the spirit casket has gone through over 140 cities from tow truck to tow truck in processions totaling over 10,000 trucks from first responders.

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