The very professionals who earn a living from highway accidents are now taking to the streets to promote highway safety and help safeguard the lives of fellow first responders. The American Towman Spirit Ride is continuing on its journey, relaying a colorful, ceremonial casket from tow truck to tow truck across the nation. The casket honors first responders who have been killed on the roadside and carries the message: Slow Down, Move Over.

About 300 towing companies across the country are relaying the casket to promote their state’s Move Over law with processions involving 10,000 tow trucks and emergency service vehicles.

The Ride, which began in June 2017, will pass through Salem with the Spirit casket being relayed to Affordable Towing. A ceremony will take place at 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3 in the Pavilion at the Oregon State Fairgrounds and Expo Center. Following the ceremony a procession of tow trucks and emergency service vehicles will drive through Salem

The Move Over law is unknown to many motorists. According to the National Safety Commission, 70 percent of American motorists do not know the law exists. The law is on the books in all states and requires passing vehicles to move over one lane when approaching an incident where emergency lights are flashing and tow operators, police, fire fighters and emergency-medical technicians are working.The ceremonial casket, named Spirit, was custom painted by artist Cecil Burrowes, who specializes in painting intricate designs on trucks and wreckers. Painted on Spirit are a dozen scenarios depicting first-responders at the scenes of highways incidents.

Among first responders killed, 60 percent were tow operators.According to American Towman Magazine President Steve Calitri, the Ride is the greatest towing project since the first tow truck was built in 1916.

“The Ride,” says Calitri, “is generating public awareness of the perils first responders face and galvanizing police resolve for enforcing the Move Over law.”

(Submitted by Janna Ross for American Towman Magazine.)