AAA reinforces state’s ‘Slow Down Move Over’ law

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CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Saturday marks National Move Over Awareness Day. By law, you are required to slow down and move over if you see law enforcement, construction workers, or tow truck drivers assisting on the roadside.

Every state has a move over law, though penalties vary. NEWS10 teamed up with Triple AAA to get a closer look at how cars are obeying the New York State’s Slow Down and Move Over law.

“Unfortunately, not a lot of people are following the law these days,” says Eric Stigberg, Managing Director of Marketing, Public and Government affairs for AAA Northway. NEWS10 stood next to AAA tow truck driver Phillip Robinson as he assisted on a mocked disabled vehicle on the side of Route 9 in Clifton Park. We saw car after car zooming by and not moving over. We stood there for about 20 minutes and only saw a handful of cars signal and switch to left lane.

The law applies to both sides of the roadway, not just the shoulder on the right. Officials say you should reduce your speed by 10 to 20 miles an hour lower than the posted speed limit. Several years ago, the law only applied to first responders but it expanded to tow truck drivers and construction crews.

“It’s frightening. Sadly, there’s about two people a month are killed in slow down move over accidents where people aren’t following the rules and get districted or whatever the case may be,” said Eric.

“Deaths like these can be avoided if drivers slow down and move over to give these people room to work safely,” said Marshall Doney, AAA President and CEO. “We can’t stress enough how important it is to pay attention so you have time to change lanes when you see AAA, an emergency responder, or simply anybody along the side of the road.”

According to data from the Triple AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, every year an average of 24 emergency responders including tow truck drivers are struck and killed by vehicles while working at the roadside. Local officials say that number has nearly doubled this year.  “So far this year there has been 49 deaths at the roadside. That includes emergency personnel, tow truck drivers, people who again were in an accident. That number is very, very high, and again we’re just trying to bring awareness to this law and make sure people understand the dangers of not adhering it,” said Eric.

AAA Northway responds to over 200 calls a day assisting to disabled vehicles. Eric says that number triples on winter weather days and sometimes Holidays. “If you see something, anything, on the shoulder ahead, slow down and move over,” said Jake Nelson, AAA’s director of traffic safety advocacy and research. “It could literally save someone’s life.”

To protect roadside workers, drivers with disabled vehicles, and others, and to improve highway safety, AAA offers precautionary tips: Remain alert, avoid distractions and focus on the task of driving. Keep an eye out for situations where emergency vehicles, tow trucks, utility service vehicles or disabled vehicles are stopped on the side of the road. When you see these situations, slow down and if possible move one lane over and away from the people and vehicles stopped at the side of the road.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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