By AAA of Western and Central New York
Crash Responder Safety Week is being recognized Nov. 13-17. 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 2016-20 – 37 of those were fatalities that occurred right here in New York state. Last month, Gov. 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.
During this Crash Responder Safety Week – and every week – protect those who protect you on our roadways. Slow down, move over, and stay alert when passing traffic incidents. AAA reminds drivers to be alert; watch the road; approach roadside incidents with caution; slow down; and when it’s safe, move over to give emergency vehicles additional space.
As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 862,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.