As National “Move Over Day” approaches Saturday, Oct. 21, AAA is reminding drivers to slow down and move over, away from first responders and disabled motorists at the roadside, especially as the days grow shorter. The latest statistics indicate that more than 75% of all roadside deaths occur after dark.
According to data analyzed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, almost 2,000 people were killed in roadside crashes over the five-year period from 2017-2021, and nearly 1,500 of those deaths occurred after dark.
“This is extremely troubling, especially with the darkest days of the year ahead,” says Lori Weaver Hawkins, public affairs manager, AAA Blue Grass. “Kentucky’s Move Over law is intended to ensure that first responders working at the roadside can provide emergency services to those in need without risk to themselves or those they are trying to help. But we believe everyone at the roadside, including stranded motorists, deserve the same life-saving courtesy from passing motorists.”
In Kentucky, 27 people died in roadside crashes between 2017 and 2021―20 of them after dark.
Kentucky’s Move Over Law
Move Over laws exist in all 50 states. Kentucky’s Move Over law requires all motorists to slow down and when possible, move over a lane, away from first responders, including tow drivers, as well as municipal and utility vehicles, and road maintenance workers at the roadside. Those who do not abide by the law are subject to fines, jail time or both.
AAA believes stranded motorists at the side of the road should have the same protection under the law as workers roadside and will be asking the Legislature to expand Kentucky’s current law to include stranded motorists.
Safety Recommendations for Drivers
AAA offers the following tips for motorists to avoid roadside tragedies:
- Remain alert, avoid distractions and focus on the task of driving.
- Keep an eye out for situations where law enforcement, emergency vehicles, tow trucks, utility and construction vehicles or disabled vehicles are stopped at the side of the road.
- When you see these situations, slow down and if possible, move one lane over and away from people and vehicles stopped at the side of the road.
“The lives of our first responders and those they are trying to help is literally on your shoulders,” Weaver Hawkins adds. “Please, slow down, move over and take extra precautions after dark.”