AAA East Central is recognizing Move-Over Day (Saturday, Oct. 15) by reminding Ohio motorists to move over and slow down for any vehicles with flashing lights parked on the roadside. 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.
“The dangers associated with working along the roadside are real, but deaths like these can be avoided if drivers will pay close attention to what is going on around them,” says Mike Hoshaw, vice president of automotive services, AAA East Central. “Slowing down and moving over is not only the law, it can be the difference between life and death for these workers.”
Startling new data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that among drivers who do not comply with Move Over laws at all times, 42% thought this behavior was somewhat or not dangerous at all to roadside emergency workers. This demonstrates that drivers may not realize how risky it is for those working or stranded along highways and roads close to moving traffic.
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. Yet, the AAA Foundation finds that –
– nearly a quarter of those surveyed (23%) are unaware of the Move Over law in the state where they live, and
– among those who are aware of their state’s Move Over laws, about 15% report not understanding the potential consequences for violating the Move Over law at all.
In Ohio, drivers face fines of $300 for the first violation, $500 for the same violation within a year of the first, and $1,000 for more than two violations in a year.
A Nationwide Problem
It’s not just tow providers and other emergency responders being killed on the side of the road. Since 2016, more than 1,700 people have been struck and killed while outside of a disabled vehicle. The reality is that drivers are increasingly distracted while driving. Previous AAA Foundation research has found that drivers are up to four times as likely to crash if they are talking on a cell phone while driving and up to eight times as likely to be in a crash if texting.
The effects of slowing down are not trivial when it comes to saving lives. According to the AAA Foundation, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if they are hit by a car traveling at 35 mph, compared to 25 mph. While highway speeds are much higher than this, the data show just how much of a factor speed plays in the severity of a roadside crash.
To protect roadside workers, drivers with disabled vehicles, and others, and to improve highway safety, AAA offers these precautionary tips:
– 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 approaching 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.
About the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety: Established in 1947 by AAA, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a nonprofit, publicly funded, 501(c)(3) charitable research and educational organization. The AAA Foundation’s mission is to prevent traffic deaths and injuries by researching their causes and by educating the public about strategies to prevent crashes and reduce injuries when they do occur. This research develops educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists, and other road users.
AAA East Central is a not-for-profit association with 71 local offices in Kentucky, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia serving 2.7 million members. News releases are available at news.eastcentral.aaa.com. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.