"Spirit Ride" passes through Panama City

PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Since 2002, Florida law has required motorists to move over or slow down when first responder vehicles are stopped on the side of the road.

Despite that, traffic accidents involving first responders have gone up at an alarming rate.

That's why the Spirit Ride was created last June. The ride is described by some as a "traveling Memorial Day" aimed at bringing awareness to the law, and Friday, it passed through our area.

The procession consisted of tow trucks passing off a casket to one another from city to city.

First responders say they're always aware of the dangers of working an accident.

"You have to be like you're in the service, you've got to watch all the time and at every angle that you're at. You're constantly watching the roadway as well as what you're trying to focus on and work," said Spud White with White's Wrecker Service.

Before the end of the year, the Spirit Casket will have passed hands in 300 cities with more than 10,000 trucks taking part.