AAA pushes for 'move over' laws in all 50 states

(December 29, 2012) HOMESTEAD, Fla. — AAA, the nation’s largest organization for motorists, has joined with leading representatives for law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians and state highway workers to announce the start of a year-long public information and legislative campaign aimed at reducing deaths and injuries among roadside workers and stranded motorists.

The effort has two primary components. One is enactment in all 50 states of “Move Over” laws that cover tow trucks and other roadside assistance vehicles in addition to law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances.

These laws require motorists to change lanes to provide an empty travel lane between their vehicle and emergency vehicles along the roadside, or to slow down while approaching — and passing — a traffic incident, if moving to another lane is not possible.

The second element is a national public awareness campaign that will include the use of public safety announcements and other publicity efforts featuring testimonials from NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver David Ragan.

Ragan is the rookie driver of the Roush Fenway Racing No. 6 AAA Ford Fusion. His father, Ken Ragan, is a former tow truck driver for AAA. Because race car drivers must “slow down and move over” when an incident occurs on the track, and because of his family experience with the hazards of working along the roadside, Ragan is ideally suited to discuss this topic with race fans and other drivers.

Speaking at a national news conference from the Homestead-Miami Speedway, AAA Vice President of Automotive, Marshall L. Doney said, “AAA has no greater responsibility than to help safeguard motorists who are stranded on the roadside, as well as those who work everyday to protect them. For this reason, we have joined the nation’s first-responders as part of the National Traffic Incident Management Coalition to improve roadside safety and are dedicating our 2008 national racing sponsorship toward this effort, with assistance from David Ragan and Roush Fenway Racing.”

 “Racing on behalf of AAA’s nearly 51 million members this year has meant serving as a role model and spokesman for safer driving wherever I go,” Ragan said.

“I also know what it is like to have a family member working late nights on a roadside protecting other people from danger. That’s why I look forward to speaking up this year and next for the safety of law enforcement, firefighters, EMTs and tow truck drivers. I want to help them spread the ‘slow down, move over’ message so everyone gives them the margin of safety they need to do their job.”

In 2005, 390 workers were killed in struck-by incidents, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), accounting for seven percent of all fatal occupational injuries.

Motorists in 41 states are required to “move over” when they see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle on the roadside, yet public awareness remains low. Just 24 states have laws that specifically include provisions for tow trucks or other roadside assistance vehicles. AAA and its affiliated clubs are working to pass Move Over laws where they do not currently exist, and expand current laws to include road service vehicles.