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August 6, 2009

For More Information, Contact:
Melissa Figueroa (916) 651-4011


SACRAMENTO-  Today Governor Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 159, by State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto), making legislation that requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching roadside emergency scenes along the highway, permanent.

The original legislation, SB 1610, was one of the winning entries in Simitian’s 2005 ‘There Oughta Be A Law’ contest, which invites Californians to submit ideas for new state legislation.  Tow truck driver and Hayward resident Daniel Frederick Leon entered the contest after noticing that drivers who do not move over or slow down when approaching tow trucks or emergency crews endanger the lives of workers on the road and other motorists. The bill was initially vetoed and reintroduced in 2006 before becoming law.

“This is about promoting highway safety, plain and simple,” said Simitian.  “I hope that it will put a stop to the senseless deaths of police officers, tow truck drivers, paramedics, and other emergency personnel who are simply helping stranded motorists.  And of course,” said Simitian, “the general public will be safer as well.”

A report conducted by the California Highway Patrol found, “an overall decrease in fatal and injury collisions and fatal and injury victims involving stopped emergency vehicles and tow trucks” after the passage of Simitian’s SB 1610 in 2006.  In the report the CHP recommended, “Removing the sunset clause and making Senate Bill 1610 permanent.”

“When people think of the dangerous work areas firefighters work in, people think of burning hillsides and houses.  But one of the most dangerous places for a firefighter to work is along our state’s highways and roadsides when responding to a traffic incident or roadside fire,” said California State Firefighters Association representative Afrack Vargas.

To learn more about Senate Bill 159 visit