Slow Down, Move Over – it’s the LAW in Pennsylvania
AAA Reminds Drivers of Critical Need to “Slow Down, Move Over” to Help Keep Emergency Responders and Roadside Workers Safe
PHILADELPHIA, PA (November 20, 2019) –– Emergency roadside assistance is at the core of AAA’s traffic safety mission. Yet, the men and women who help AAA members when they are in need put their lives on the line every day.
AAA tow operators respond to more than 30 million calls for help each year, working on roadside shoulders frequently no wider than four feet. An average of 23 tow operators are killed at the roadside every year, with one service provider on average being killed on the job at the roadside every other week. A contributing factor to this tragic statistic is that fewer than 30 percent of Americans even know about move over laws.
Given these startling statistics, AAA is recommitting its efforts to increase awareness of and support for Slow Down, Move Over laws. These laws, which are in place in all 50 states, are aimed at protecting emergency responders working along the roadside, requiring motorists to slow down and move over or change lanes, if possible, to give emergency responders safe clearance.
“Emergency responders and roadside workers put themselves at risk every day to help people who are in need of emergency assistance or whose vehicles are broken down,” said Jana L. Tidwell, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “To ensure safety, the best thing drivers can do is slow down significantly and when possible move over when they see flashing lights, further protecting emergency responders and those they are helping on the side of the road. Whether this is a police officer, ambulance, fire truck or someone fixing a tire or working on a tow, slow down, move away and change lanes to create safe space around them. Their lives are on your shoulders.”
Pennsylvania’s Slow Down, Move Over Law
Pennsylvania law requires drivers approaching an emergency response area, including areas in which a tow truck is offering assistance, to pass in a non-adjacent lane if safe and possible to do so, or slow to a safe speed. Also included in the law are utility vehicles within the first 72 hours after a declared emergency or until the expiration of a declared emergency, whichever is later.
Failure to slow down and/or move over will result in a $250 fine for a first offense, $500 for a second offense, and $1,000 for a third or subsequent offense. Repeat offenders may have their license suspended, and violators who cause bodily injury or the death of an emergency service provider face additional fines of up to $10,000. In addition, fines for several traffic violations are doubled when committed in an emergency response area where first responders are present.
Heed the Need to Slow Down, Move Over
To protect emergency responders and roadside workers, AAA offers these precautionary tips:
- Always remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on the task of driving.
- Watch for situations where emergency vehicles, tow trucks, utility service vehicles or disabled vehicles are stopped on the side of the road.
- When approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing on the side of a two-lane roadway, drivers should slow down to a speed that is safe and approach with caution unless otherwise directed by an emergency worker on the scene. Some states recommend slowing to a speed that is 10-20 mph less than the posted speed limit.
- On multi-lane roadways, slow down when you see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle at the roadside and, if possible, move over into an adjacent lane. If you are unable to switch lanes, slow to a speed that is safe and reasonable. Some states recommend slowing to a speed that is 10-20 mph less than the posted speed limit.
“Roadside workers face dangers on the job daily and distinctly illustrates why Slow Down, Move Over laws are critical to safety,” noted Tidwell. “Those who brave these conditions to rescue AAA members are the heart of our company, but working along busy roads is dangerous work. The next time you see an emergency responder or service vehicle at the roadside, slow down and move over.”
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AAA provides automotive, travel and insurance services to 60 million members nationwide and more than three million members in Pennsylvania. AAA advocates for the safety and mobility of its members and has been committed to outstanding road service for more than 100 years. The not-for-profit, fully tax-paying member organization works on behalf of motorists, who can now map a route, find local gas prices, discover discounts, book a hotel and track their roadside assistance service with the AAA Mobile app for iPhone, iPad and Android. For more information, visit www.AAA.com.