Slow Down Move Over National Awareness Day - October 17th

Automotive, Community, Traffic Safety

Did you know, an average of 23 tow operators are killed at the roadside every year, with one service provider on average being killed in the line of duty every other week? A contributing factor to this tragic statistic is that fewer than 30% of Americans know about laws requiring motorists to slow down and move over when approaching vehicles stopped on the roadside. Saturday, October 17, is National Move Over Awareness Day and an excellent opportunity to raise awareness about and adherence to Slow Down Move Over Laws.

Minnesota’s Move Over Law was named after Ted Foss, a state patrol trooper who was killed in 2000 while on the should of Interstate-90 in Winona. The law was enacted in 2001 and states that when traveling on a road with two or more lanes, drivers must move over one full lane away from stopped emergency vehicles that have their flashing lights activated. If you are unable to safely move over to the next lane, you must reduce speed until full past the stopped vehicle and personnel.

While the Minnesota law only specifies emergency vehicles with flashing lights activated—including ambulance, fire, law enforcement, towing and recovery, utility, road maintenance, and construction vehicles—it is still common courtesy to slow down and move over for any vehicle stopped at the side of the road. "These safety precautions are important year round but become even more imperative when weather and visibility conditions wors­en, such as during the winter, at night or during a storm," says Meredith Terpstra, the Community Relations and PR Specialist at AAA Minneapolis.

Disregarding these actions endan­gers personnel who provide critical and life-saving services. Failure to comply can also be accompanied by fines, which can exceed $100 plus fees. AAA Minneapolis urges drivers to help us keep our heroes and members safe on the roadways by moving over and slowing down for all stopped vehicles, whether they have flashing lights or not.