BETHESDA, Md. (FOX 5 DC) - First responders have an important message for drivers: Move over. The warning comes after a dangerous and deadly month for police officers, tow truck drivers, and others working alongside busy roads.
If you are driving along and pass somebody pulled over on the side of the road you’ve got to get over. It sounds simple, but traffic safety advocates say it really could be--and has been--a matter of life and death.
"The side of the road is a dangerous place when a car breaks down or there is an emergency scene, and it’s more dangerous because some drivers refuse to move over to the next lane or slow down," said John Townsend with AAA Mid-Atlantic.
FOX 5 cameras caught it in action passing by a wreck on the beltway Monday. People were not moving over, not slowing down and putting others at risk in the process, either because they’re not following the law – or all too often, according to AAA, they don’t know about the law.
That includes in Maryland, where back in January police officer Christine Peters was killed. She was hit by a vehicle near Edmonston Road and Cherrywood Lane in Greenbelt.
AAA says she’s one of at least 12 officers who have been hit and killed while on traffic stops or crash investigations nationwide this year.
They also tell us a tow truck driver is killed every six days on average and just in the past month, they say there have been at least four of these deaths across the country, including a firefighter, a driver changing a flat, and two tow truck drivers – one of whom worked for AAA.
That is why they’re sounding the alarm, along with law enforcement agencies including the Montgomery County Police, urging people to move over, or at the very least, slow down.
"Too many lives have been lost because drivers do not know that they are required to pull over to the next lane or slow down when they pass an emergency situation on the side of the road," Townsend said.
AAA points out, all 50 states plus DC have Move Over laws on the books, however, they do vary depending on the jurisdiction.