Something is killing first responders at staggering rates, and the answer is us.
To raise awareness about the Move Over law – which protects first responders and travelers – we’re highlighting “National Move Over Day,” Saturday, Oct. 19.
Every year, drivers are injuring and killing hundreds of emergency responders as they work to save lives at the scene of traffic incidents:
- From 2007-2017, of the 1,641 officers killed in the line of duty, more than one-third (39%) of those were killed in traffic-related incidents. In 2017 alone, 47 officers were killed in traffic-related incidents across the U.S.
- According to the National Fire Protection Association, fire personnel are more likely to die while responding to a crash than a fire.
- Tow operators are particularly vulnerable: The International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum in Chattanooga, Tenn. estimates that anywhere between 40-60 tow operators are struck and killed each year, or roughly one per week.
These numbers do not include transportation professionals, for which exact numbers are difficult to pin down.
“It is safe to say that one of the most dangerous parts of a first responder’s job is stepping out onto the side of the road, whether it’s for a traffic stop, to assist a motorist or respond to a crash,” explains Justin Guinan, ODOT’s Traffic Incident Management Program coordinator. “Every state has some kind of ‘Move Over’ law that requires drivers to move over and slow down when approaching stopped emergency vehicles. Ours was recently updated to include all stopped motor vehicles, emergency or not.”
What does Oregon’s Move Over Law require?
Oregon’s Move Over Law requires drivers to move over to another lane or slow down by at least five miles an hour below the posted speed for any vehicle stopped next to the side of the road displaying hazard lights or other signs of distress. Failure to obey Oregon’s Move Over law is a Class B traffic violation with a $265.00 fine ($525.00 if the location is within a safety corridor, school zone or work zone).
“We cannot stress enough the importance of this law when it comes to protecting first responders and anyone unfortunate enough to be stranded on the side of the road,” says Oregon State Police Lieutenant Nathan House. “National polling estimates that 71% of US residents are not aware of the Move Over Law in their state. We need to educate all drivers. It is about saving lives. We want everyone to go home safe.”
We have a responsibility to protect those who protect us.
National Move Over Day began in 2017 to get every state involved in promoting Move Over laws and responder safety on the same day. It is the third Saturday of October.
What can all of us do?
Take the #MoveOver challenge!
- Make a commitment to look out for and move over for emergency responders and stranded motorists.
- Help us build awareness! Share Oregon’s Move Over Law with at least three people, and ask them to do the same. You can also take a picture or make a video of why you move over and post to Facebook (@OregonTIMResponders) and/or Twitter (#MoveOver).
Join us in spreading the word: Move Over. It’s the Law.
You could save someone’s life.