Crash Responder Safety Week is being recognized November 13 – 17, 2023. AAA Western and Central New York reminds drivers to help protect workers and emergency personnel along roadways by following the Slow Down, Move Over law.
Originally known as National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week, this is a time to improve roadway safety during traffic incidents by raising awareness with the motoring public to encourage all drivers to use caution and responsibility for safe, quick clearance of traffic incidents thereby saving lives.
“Every minute of every day, traffic incident responders work on the roadside in an effort to help others,” said Elizabeth Carey, Director of Public Relations at AAA Western and Central New York. “Emergency roadside assistance is at the core of AAA’s traffic safety mission. Yet, the men and women who help AAA members when they are in need also put their lives on the line every day.”
Despite all 50 states having some form of a Slow Down, Move Over law, many drivers say they don’t realize the law exists, nor do they understand the safety implications of breaking the law. Research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety finds that 42% of drivers who do not comply with Move Over laws think that their behavior is not dangerous to people on the roadside. Drivers may not realize how risky it is for workers or stranded motorists alongside moving traffic. On average, two emergency responders are struck and killed at the roadside every month. These crashes are particularly deadly for roadside service providers – in fact, 15 times deadlier than all other industries combined.
According to AAA analysis of data obtained from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), 1,703 people were struck while outside of a disabled vehicle in the U.S. from 2016-2020 — 37 of those were fatalities that occurred right here in New York State. Last month, Governor Kathy Hochul signed Move Over legislation into law thereby expanding New York’s Slow Down/Move Over requirement. The expansion includes disabled vehicles that are parked on the shoulder of a controlled access highway or parkway, requiring drivers to exercise caution when approaching a disabled vehicle. It will go into effect in March.
Learn more about what drivers can do to protest roadside workers and emergency personnel by clicking here.