COLON—AAA has long been a proponent of “change of address” laws, which require drivers to slow down and pull over for emergency services on the roadside, however, there remains a alarming number of deaths. Ahead of the unofficial Move Over Day* on Saturday, October 15, AAA is launching a new campaign urging drivers to “Move for me.”
Nationwide, AAA tow operators respond to more than 30 million calls for help each year, often working on highway shoulders that are no more than four feet wide. Due to these dangerous conditions, a tow truck driver dies on the job every two weeks. Hundreds more are injured while tending to disabled vehicles.
While all 50 states, including Ohio, have a Move Over law to protect first responders, the AAA Foundation for Road Safety finds that nearly a quarter of people are unaware of these laws. Others seem to simply ignore these laws.
AAA’s new campaign includes a video of tow truck drivers responding to real tweets about the Move Over law. The video can be seen here: https://vimeo.com/755276427/3ddc48ceb8.
AAA also partnered with the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Ohio Turnpike on a campaign aimed at reminding drivers to move over and slow down during none vehicle with flashing lights parked on the road. Campaign materials are available for download at http://www.moveover.ohio.gov/.
According to an ODOT crash analysis, there have been 639 crashes so far in 2022 when drivers were stopped or slowed by a stationary vehicle with flashing lights. This has caused 29 deaths and 86 serious injuries. Between 2015 and 2021, a total of 6,477 moving-related accidents occurred in Ohio.
Those who do not comply with the Ohio Move Over Law are subject to charges and fines. The law is strictly enforced. In fact, in 2020, the Ohio State Highway Patrol issued 7,829 citations for those who did not move or slow down.
Advocacy at the national level:
While Ohio’s Move Over law applies to all vehicles with flashing or revolving lights, drivers should also be aware of stranded motorists. Across the country, AAA is working to expand Move Over educational efforts with its new “Move Over for Me” campaign that asks drivers to move for all motorists stuck on the road, as well as first responders.
“For years, Move Over, Slow Down efforts have focused on emergency services, and it is critical that we continue to protect these people who come to the aid of motorists,” said Brian Rex, director of emergency roadside services. from AAA Ohio Auto Club. “But as motorists get flat tires, break down, run out of gas or find themselves in roadside trouble, they too face the dangerous elements of high-speed traffic and need the same protection.”
New analysis from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that more than 1,700 people died while outside a disabled vehicle between 2016 and 2020.
This year, AAA is also working with the Towing and Recovery Association of America to introduce a federal resolution for a National Moving Law Day. A national day is one more way to remind drivers of the importance of paying attention, moving and slowing down when they see others on the side of the road working or stranded with a disabled vehicle.
Tips for drivers:
- Stay alert. Avoid distractions and focus on driving.
- Watch for emergency vehicles, including tow trucks, that have their lights on, as well as cars that have their flashing lights on. Move into a lane when you see them, and if you can’t, slow down to safely pass them.
- Be a good passenger. Help identify road problems and remind the driver to pull over and slow down.
- Watch for people on the edge of the road. People may be in or near a disabled vehicle. Just because you don’t see them right away doesn’t mean they aren’t there.
Tips for stranded motorists:
- Pull over to the shoulder as much as possible to create more distance between your vehicle and passing traffic.
- Turn on your hazard lights so other drivers know you are there.
- If you can safely get to the next exit or stopping point, do so.
- Request assistance by phone, website, or the AAA Mobile app.
- Stay with your vehicle as long as it is safe to do so.
- If you do get out of your vehicle, watch for oncoming traffic for ample time to get out and stay alert and close to your vehicle. Avoid facing away from traffic whenever possible.