A recent AAA survey finds that 25% of drivers do not know there is a law in New York state that requires drivers to slow down and change lanes when they see an emergency vehicle on the roadside, reports WRVO.
Moreover, among those who have broken that law, 42% said they did not think their behavior was risky or hazardous to roadside workers.
But Move Over laws exist for reason. For individuals who regularly work along the shoulders of America’s busy and congested roads, the job can be perilous.
Nationwide, 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.
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.
Even so, national data from AAA indicates that 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 the case of New York, distracted driving is making the issue even more deadly. State police say distracted drivers are not seeing the emergency vehicles or the disabled vehicles, and they are literally hitting the back of these cars, or hitting someone on the roadside, reports WRVO.
State police continue to ticket drivers who don’t follow the law. Troopers issued 10,000 Move Over tickets in 2021, and 4,000 so far this year.
There is a push in New York to extend the law beyond emergency vehicles, to disabled motorists on the side of the road, notes the report. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates 566 people are killed every year, and 14,000 are injured when dealing with a disabled vehicle on the road.