Longstanding campaigners for the safety of roadside technicians and independent recovery operators, Allianz Partners, AXA Partners, LV= Britannia Rescue and Call Assist, applaud news that the traditional motoring clubs have joined the battle to improve awareness among drivers of the dangers to professionals at work on the motorway. As momentum gathers pace, the industry is urging Government to enforce change and save lives.
The aim of the ‘Slow Down Move Over’ group, reformed in 1997 and now backed universally by the roadside and assistance industry, is to get Government to recognise that the motto ‘slow down or move over safely’ should actually be a safety measure within the Highway Code. Life changing or fatal accidents involving independent recovery operators and roadside technicians continue at an unnecessary and alarming rate, but could be avoided by raising greater awareness among road users.
Director of ‘Slow Down Move Over’ and Managing Director of recovery and roadside breakdown company, Service On Site, Paul Anstee, said of the call by the industry, “We have been working hard to drive change across the industry and by fellow motorway users. Now that we have backing from the majority of key players across the industry we are confident that the much needed change will indeed happen.”
“With the assistance of four of the most respected work providers within our industry we have been working hard to raise awareness of roadside workers and road users who find themselves stranded at the roadside. Now that Green Flag, the RAC and AA are also supporting the campaign we have unified backing from all areas of our industry and we are confident that change will happen.”
Mark Debenham, UK Network Manager for Allianz Partners UK, comments, “This is an important campaign that brings together key voices from across the industry. By pulling together, we are representing the roadside assistance and recovery workers who don’t have a voice. Politicians need to listen to the concerns of this vital industry and the professionals who risk their own safety to help others stranded on roadsides up and down the UK.”
“Encountering a vehicle breakdown or working at the side of the road is extremely dangerous for our customers and our network of vehicle recovery operators. This campaign helps raise awareness to all road users of the importance of slowing down and moving over and putting this into the Highway Code will hopefully ensure that we continue to reduce the risks for
the people who keep the country going by attending vehicle breakdowns,” adds Chris Keady, Network Manager for LV= Britannia Rescue.
A spokesperson at AXA, says “The work of an emergency breakdown mechanic can often be treacherous with many of them working in challenging conditions to help motorists in their time of need. With so many avoidable mechanic deaths occurring on our motorways every year, protecting these workers should be an absolute priority for government, and we’re proud to be working with cross-industry partners to raise awareness of the ‘Slow Down Move Over’ campaign, helping make sure mechanics are safe when attending emergency breakdowns.”
“This campaign is so important to our industry and our customers. If road users see flashing lights or a stranded vehicle, they should automatically think ahead to slow down or move over when it is safe to do so,” states Ben Johnson, Director of Networks at Call Assist. “Emergency services cannot always reach an incident in time to warn approaching traffic and road users should always ensure they approach incidents with due care and attention for the safety of the roadside technician, our stranded customers and of course, their own safety to avoid a collision.”
Another supporter of the campaign is Richard Goddard, Managing Director of one of the UK’s leading rescue and recovery operators, Automania. He spearheads an All Party Parliamentary Group in partnership with public affairs specialists Tendo, to get the industry recognised as the 4th emergency service alongside the police, ambulance and fire service. Richard is lobbying Government to back the use of red lights by technicians and recovery operators, which will be vital in getting motorists to slow down and move away. Comments Richard Goddard: “Recovery agents need protecting, and whilst the safety of passengers is important, so is the safety of our staff and all assistance professionals. The industry lost 3 agents in the last year, which confirms how serious this matter is.”
Paul Anstee of Slow Down Move Over, concludes: “This is a really important time. We have the attention and wide support of independent vehicle recovery operators, breakdown clubs and trade associations and are now calling upon those with specialist skills to grow the campaign further. The vision of Slow Down Move Over is to build a group that is all encompassing, reflective of our industry, transparent in its approach and free from any ‘industry politics’, focusing purely on safety.”