BOISE – Emergency responders, tow truck operators and transportation workers provide essential services at the roadside, but they often work within close proximity of passing vehicles that put their safety and even their lives at risk.
AAA is teaming up with its traffic safety partners, including the Idaho Transportation Department and the Idaho Towing Association, to remind drivers of the state’s “Slow Down, Move Over” law, which requires drivers to move over at least one lane when approaching an emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the shoulder or side of the roadway. If unable to do so, drivers are required to slow down below the speed limit and pass with caution.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 1,700 people were killed while outside of a disabled vehicle from 2016 to 2020, including 6 here in Idaho. And according to some studies, working in the motor vehicle towing industry is up to 15 times more dangerous than all other private industries combined.
Governor Brad Little has officially proclaimed Saturday, October 15 to be “Idaho Move Over Law Day.” In part, the proclamation reads, “Public awareness of Idaho’s ‘Slow Down, Move Over’ law is key to its successful implementation…all Idahoans share an appreciation for the dedicated service of emergency workers and are committed to their safety.”
“When there’s a crash or vehicle disablement, emergency responders are the true heroes who put themselves in harm’s way to rescue others,” says AAA Idaho public affairs director Matthew Conde. “We’ve all been stuck in traffic, so it’s easy to see the importance of quickly clearing the scene to prevent secondary crashes and get people and products back on the go. We can thank these workers by slowing down and moving over to reduce their risk of death and serious injury.”
Efforts are currently underway in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate to establish a National Move Over Day, to be recognized on the third Saturday of October each year.
“While Idaho’s law specifically applies to emergency vehicles, if you see motorists outside of a vehicle at the roadside, please afford them the same courtesy of slowing down and moving over whenever possible,” Conde said. “Our top priority is to get everyone home safe.”