WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Saturday, Oct. 15, is National Move Over Day, which serves as a reminder to drivers to help protect roadside workers and anyone else who may be stopped on the side of the road.
AAA Kansas, the Kansas Highway Patrol (KHP), and the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) are collaborating to recognize National Move Over Day and remind drivers of the importance of the Move Over Law.
Roadside workers, including law enforcement officers, road construction crews, and tow truck operators, spend a lot of time alongside speeding traffic to keep our roadways, vehicle drivers, and passengers safe.
According to a news release sent out by AAA, roadside workers are being injured or killed at “an alarming rate:”
- With 1,245 work zone crashes across Kansas in 2021, that was an average of 3.4 crashes every day of the year. While 963 of those crashes were property damage only, six people were killed, 387 were injured, and most of those people were motorists.
- According to the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, 65 traffic incident management responders were killed due to roadside collisions across the United States in 2021.
- A towing technician loses his or her life every six days on America’s roadways, according to the Towing & Recovery Association of America.
- Statistics from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) show that in 2021, there were 27 law enforcement officers struck by fatalities. Many of these fatal incidents occurred while officers were investigating motor vehicle crashes or assisting drivers on the side of the road.
- Between 2013 and 2020, work zone fatalities increased by 45%. In 2020, over 102,000 work zone crashes were estimated to have occurred, resulting in over 45,000 injuries and 857 fatalities, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
- Since 2015, more than 1,600 people have been struck and killed while outside of a disabled vehicle along a roadway.
Move Over laws exist in all 50 states.
Data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety in 2021 found that drivers do not comply with the Move Over law at all times:
- 42% thought this behavior was somewhat or not dangerous to roadside emergency workers. This demonstrates that drivers may not realize how risky it is for those working or stranded along highways and roads closed to moving traffic.
- Nearly a quarter of those surveyed (23%) are unaware of the Move Over law in the state where they live, and
- Among those who are aware of their state’s Move Over laws, about 15% report not understanding the potential consequences of violating the Move Over law at all.
“In Kansas, state law requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, including towing and recovery vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do so, or slow to a speed safe for road, weather, and traffic conditions. In Kansas, the original law took effect in 2000 to protect law enforcement officers. It has been expanded over the years to reduce risk to roadside construction crews, emergency responders, tow operators and waste collection vehicles. It was most recently broadened during the 2021 Kansas Legislative session to include utility and telecommunications crews,” reads the AAA news release.
A 2021 AAA poll of Kansas drivers found a lack of understanding or awareness around the Move Over law:
- Even though 99% of Kansas drivers responded that it is ‘very dangerous’ or ‘somewhat dangerous’ for roadside workers if motorists do not comply with the Move Over law
- 92% of Kansas motorists said they would support such a measure
- One-third (33%) of all Kansas drivers answered ‘unsure’ or thought there was ‘no’ Move Over law
For more information, visit https://cluballiance.aaa.com/automotive/slow-down-move-over.