SALT LAKE CITY – A traveling memorial made a stop in Salt Lake City Wednesday to deliver a powerful message in a unique way – slow down and move over.
“I see probably four out of 10 cars a day on the highway that don`t move over,” Robert Vinson said. The tow truck driver has seen a lot of close calls in his nearly 20 year career.
“It’s scary especially when you have kids. My kids wanna know if I’m gonna make it home every day.”
Vinson says people don’t realize tow trucks are first responders too. Like their counterparts, they need room on the roads to safely do their job.
All drivers are required to slow down and move over at least one lane when approaching an emergency vehicle on the road. But so far this year, 11 Utah Highway Patrol troopers have been hit.
“It is a law, but people don’t always go by the law,” said Ted Sterling, owner of Adam’s Towing.
On Wednesday, a traveling memorial called "Spirit Ride" rolled into Salt Lake City. The procession carried a custom-built casket to drive the point home.
At the ceremony, held at the Utah State Capitol, a South Salt Lake police officer said, “On average, there are a hundred fatalities annually among first responders. 60 percent of those are tow operators.”
Artwork covers the casket showing the dangers first responders face on the road.
It may not contain a body, but it contains the spirit of all of those that have perished on the highways.
"It’s not a real funeral but it could be a real funeral,” Spirit Ride Ambassador Mike Corbin said.
Both first responders and tow truck operators stood united to remind drivers to slow down and move over.
“If you hit somebody, or kill somebody or maim somebody, you live with it the rest of your life," Sterling said. "And it’s not worth it for that few seconds."