Auto group encourages motorists to slow down, move over to protect tow operators
The Auto Club Group today announces the start of an ongoing Slow Down, Move Over campaign aimed at highlighting Nebraska’s Move Over law and reducing deaths and injuries among tow operators, first responders and roadside workers.
While all fifty states have slow down, move over laws for emergency responders, which includes tow trucks, fewer than 30 percent of Americans know about these laws, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
In Nebraska, motorists are required to move over a lane when approaching stopped emergency or roadside assistance vehicles on controlled access highways. After determining it is safe, drivers must move over to create a clear lane of traffic as they approach vehicles with flashing lights including tow service vehicles, motorist assist units, law enforcement vehicles, fire fighting vehicles, emergency medical service vehicles and Department of Transportation vehicles.
The Move Over law was updated in 2018 to include publicly or privately owned utility maintenance vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles, or vehicles operated by a solid waste or recycling collection service which is stopped and displaying strobe or flashing red, yellow, or amber lights.
If motorists are unable to move over due to road or weather conditions, or traffic congestion, slow down and maintain a safe speed while passing. Failing to take these actions endangers personnel who provide critical and life-saving services. Failure to follow the law may result in a fine up to $100. Subsequent offenses can result in fines of up to 500 and/or up to seven days in jail.
“Our roadside service providers will respond to over 30 million calls for help this year alone; delivering safety, security and peace of mind to our members. Yet their lives are on the line every time they answer the call,” said Rose White, public affairs director for AAA-The Auto Club Group. “We’re asking for the public’s support to protect all of the first responders who come to the rescue of motorists. Slow down, move over as the lives of our highway heroes are on your shoulders.”
Across the United States, one tow operator is killed in the line of duty every other week, and the towing industry is 15 times deadlier than all other private industries combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To protect roadside workers and improve highway safety, AAA offers these precautionary tips:
- Always remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on the task of driving.
- Maintain a visual lead of everything going on 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. This gives you time to see problems ahead and change lanes and adjust speed accordingly.
- Emergencies can occur anywhere on the road. When you see flashing lights, slow down and prepare well in advance to change lanes. Allow others to merge into your lane when necessary.
- Don’t follow semi-trucks or other large vehicles too closely. If a truck moves into a left-hand lane, don’t speed around the right side. They are changing lanes for a reason; be prepared to change lanes yourself.
- When road conditions are slick, don’t make sudden lane changes which can cause an uncontrollable skid. Change lanes early and move over gradually.
- If you are unable to move over, slow down to a safe speed taking into consideration that you are approaching a workspace where pedestrians are present.
For information on laws in other states, visit drivinglaws.aaa.com.