If your car has ever broken down or you have had a flat tire, being stranded on the side of a road, can be very dangerous. Cars and trucks speeding by just inches away leaves too little margin for error and could easily result in a disastrous crash. America’s first responders — police, fire, EMT’s — face this peril every day in the line of duty. Also at risk are tow truck drivers, highway workers, utility workers and others whose jobs sometimes require that they park their vehicle on the roadway or the side of the road.
More than 150 law enforcement officers have been killed since 1997 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways. In fact, traffic-related incidents, including vehicle crashes, are one of the leading causes of death for law enforcement officers. In 2017, 47 officers lost their lives in traffic-related incidents, with nine officers struck and killed outside their vehicles. Already in 2019, responder fatalities include 7 law enforcement officers. From 2007 to 2017, 39 percent of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were lost in traffic-related incidents. Many have been seriously injured. This is a tragedy and completely preventable.
To keep people from being killed or injured in these situations, all fifty states now have mandatory “Move Over” laws. Details vary, but assume that if you see a vehicle with emergency lights or flashers on, you are required to move over a lane and slow down.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will continue to raise awareness of this important issue through its ongoing safety campaign: Move Over. It’s the Law.
Every driver has a part to play in keeping first responders safe. When you see a first responder or other vehicle with flashing lights, please slow down, move over, and give them space to stay safe. “Move Over” is not only the law in all fifty states, but is also the courteous thing to do. And when you safely move over, you are signaling to the drivers behind you that they should follow your lead.