Slow Down, Move Over, Save a Life: AAA, ISP, ITD spotlight “Move Over” law

BOISE- Governor Brad Little has officially proclaimed October 21 to be Idaho Move Over Law Day. AAA, the Idaho State Police, and the Idaho Transportation Department are reminding drivers who approach a stationary tow truck or emergency vehicle to slow down below the speed limit and, if possible, move over one lane to protect workers at the roadside.

All 50 states have Move Over laws, but driver awareness is inconsistent.  According to previous research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, 23% of drivers are not aware of the Move Over law in their state, while 30% did not completely understand the law.  Of those who are aware, 91% are very comfortable complying with the law.  Unfortunately, among those who do not comply with Move Over laws, nearly half felt that their behavior posed little or no danger to workers.

The Foundation also surveyed tow technicians, emergency responders, and road maintenance workers on their experiences with roadside jobs.  Of those surveyed, 60% had experienced a near miss from a passing vehicle, while a shocking 15% had survived being hit while working at the roadside.

Traffic safety partners across the Gem State are working to underscore the importance of this law.

Col. Kedrick Wills, Director of the Idaho State Police said, “The Move Over law protects those who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting our communities.  It isn’t just the law; it’s a moral duty.  When you see flashing lights on the side of the road, consider the lives behind them because it’s not just a vehicle; it’s someone who’s risking everything to keep us safe and get home to their family.  Slowing down and moving over is a simple act that can make all the difference in ensuring the safety of our first responders and highway workers.  Let’s do our part to keep them safe on our roads.”

ITD Chief Deputy Director and Chief Operations Officer Dan McElhinney said, “ITD employees and our contractor teams are often on the highway in construction or maintenance work zones, or for crash incident response to help drivers.  Let’s all be there for them by slowing down and moving over when you see flashing lights on the shoulder ahead.  A few seconds of courtesy saves lives and helps everyone get home safely.”

“According to some studies, working in the towing industry is up to 15 times more dangerous than all other private industries combined.  Sadly, on average, a tow truck driver is killed at the roadside every other week,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde.  “Tow truck operators and emergency personnel work hard to protect others.  We should return the favor.”

AAA’s Move Over for Me campaign calls attention to the devastating consequences for individuals, families, and communities whenever an emergency responder is injured or killed at the roadside.  Drivers are encouraged to remain alert, avoid distractions, and watch out for emergency vehicles on the side of the road.  If you see one, please slow down and move over to give emergency responders more room to safely do their job.

In part, Governor Little’s proclamation reads, “Public awareness of Idaho’s ‘Slow Down, Move Over’ law is key to its successful implementation…all Idahoans share an appreciation for the dedicated service of emergency workers and are committed to their safety.”