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Breakdown providers join forces in call for new road safety rule

Breakdown providers join forces in call for new road safety rule


Three breakdown providers have united in a call for new regulations to improve motorway safety around assistance vehicles.

It follows several incidents involving vehicle recovery staff – including the death of an RAC technician and two other recovery drivers.

The RAC, AA and Green Flag have written to road safety minister Jesse Norman calling for the introduction of a ‘slow down, move over’ rule, which would force drivers to take extra care when passing a broken-down vehicle or a recovery vehicle with flashing amber beacons.

The organisations want drivers to move into the next lane if possible, leaving a whole lane buffer between traffic and the incident. This is already law in a few countries including Canada, where drivers must change lanes to avoid emergency vehicles, police traffic stops and breakdown tow trucks if possible.

Crashed RAC van

As well as changes to the Highway Code, the trio is urging the Department for Transport to sponsor a Think! road safety campaign. This would highlight the dangers breakdown patrols face and encourage drivers to take care when passing patrols or broken-down vehicles.

RAC chief operations officer James Knight said: “Working or breaking down at the side of a busy road or motorway is a nerve-racking experience and one we know carries risks. 

“We do everything we can to minimise the dangers and to ensure our patrols put their own safety and that of drivers and passengers first. 

“But in light of the recent fatalities, we now urgently need the government to work with us to raise awareness of the issue among drivers and to promote a ‘slow down, move over’ message. 

“This must be backed by a high-profile publicity campaign and a change to the Highway Code.

“Sadly, we have seen the human cost of such incidents. Earlier this year, we lost one of our patrols while helping a member who had broken down on a dual carriageway. This was a tragic accident and a terrible shock to all of us at the RAC, and we know it has affected colleagues in other organisations as well.”

AA president Edmund King said: “Standing at the side of a motorway is a frightening experience, but our patrols rescue stranded motorists daily in all weathers. Unfortunately, their safety is being compromised by some who drive too fast and too close.

“Slow down, move over is not a difficult request, but this simple act of kindness will make a world of difference to vulnerable drivers, patrols and road workers alike.”