With National Move Over Day being observed this past Saturday, October 16th, AAA is raising awareness of the dangers that emergency personnel and first responders face on the roadside and how critical it is that motorists follow the Move Over laws that have been put into place to protect them. The roadside tragedies that are caused by motorists who fail to obey these laws are a grim reminder and furthermore highlight the need for drivers to slow down and move over.
As of August of this year, 14 tow providers have been killed while helping others at the roadside in 2021. Additionally, an average of 24 emergency responders, including tow providers, are struck and killed by vehicles while working at the roadside each year – meaning someone in this line of work is killed, on average, every other week. These untimely deaths can be avoided if motorists comply with Move Over laws and give the appropriate amount of room for responders to work safely.
However, it’s not just tow providers and other emergency responders who are being killed on the side of the road. Since 2015, over 1,600 people have been struck and killed while outside of a disabled vehicle. In North Carolina, a total of 40 people were killed while outside a disabled vehicle, between 2015 and 2019. In South Carolina, a total of 23 people were killed.
To protect these individuals, AAA and other traffic safety advocates have led the way in getting Move Over laws passed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The law requires drivers to move over a lane or slow down when approaching an incident where tow providers, police, firefighters or emergency medical service crews are working at the roadside. Many states have also expanded their laws to cover other vehicles, such as utility and municipal (e.g. sanitation vehicles) fleets, as well as any disabled vehicle on the side of the road.
AAA’s Advice for Drivers
- Remain alert, avoid distractions and focus on the task of driving.
- Keep an eye out for situations where emergency vehicles, tow trucks, utility service vehicles or disabled vehicles are stopped on the side of the road.
- When you see these situations, slow down and if possible move one lane over and away from the people and vehicles stopped at the side of the road.