BY BOB JOHNSON
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama motorists would have to move over for garbage trucks — as they currently do for emergency vehicles — under legislation being considered in the Legislature.
A bill by Republican Rep. Mac McCutcheon of Capshaw called "Move Over Alabama" is expected to be considered in the House Public Safety Committee Wednesday. Similar legislation by Republican Sen. Dick Brewbaker of Montgomery has cleared a Senate committee.
The Legislature passed a bill in 2006 that requires drivers to move over for police and fire vehicles with emergency lights on. The law was later amended to include wreckers and utility service vehicles.
McCutcheon said he thinks Alabama highways have been safer since the original bill passed. He said he has noticed more vehicles moving into the left lane.
He said a number of municipalities in and near his north Alabama district have discussed with him the need to protect workers on garbage trucks. He said there have been garbage workers hit by cars as they were trying to pickup garbage.
"We've had cases all over the state where this has happened," McCutcheon said. He said the number of garbage trucks on Alabama roads has grown as cities have expanded.
Lori Lein, an attorney for the Alabama League of Municipalities, said her organization is tracking the bill.
"I don't know of any opposition to it," she said.
There are similar laws on the books in more than 40 states.
McCutcheon said he believes his bill will bring attention to the need to pull over for emergency vehicles, garbage trucks and other vehicles where men and women are working on the side of the road.
"I think this bill will create an awareness and bring attention to the problem," McCutcheon said.
The legislator said funeral processions are not covered by his new bill or by earlier versions of the law.
But he said funeral processions would be covered if the police or other emergency vehicle escorting the procession had to pull off the road.