AAA Launches "Move Over for Me" Campaign to Protect All Drivers
DENVER (Oct. 18, 2022) - Each year, nearly 350 people are struck and killed outside a disabled vehicle - in part because Colorado law doesn't protect drivers at the roadside. AAA plans to change that, and is today launching its "Move Over for Me" campaign alongside new legislation that would make Colorado a national leader in roadside safety.
"For years, Slow Down, Move Over efforts have focused on emergency responders, and it's critical that we continue to protect the folks who keep us safe and keep Colorado moving," said Skyler McKinley, regional director of public affairs for AAA. "But as motorists get flat tires, break down, run out of gas, or find themselves otherwise in trouble at the roadside, they also face the dangers of high-speed traffic - and deserve the same protection."
With Colorado's traffic fatalities hitting historic highs - each year since 2017 has been the deadliest since 2002 - a new survey by AAA finds that 97% of motorists are concerned about vehicles passing at high speeds when they are stopped on the side of the road. To keep everyone safe, motorists need to slow down and move over for all vehicles on the roadside, whether it's an emergency vehicle or tow provider with flashing lights or a disabled vehicle with its hazard lights on.
Across the country, a tow truck driver is struck and killed at the roadside every two weeks, on average. That's why Colorado's existing Slow Down, Move Over laws require drivers to move over one lane whenever they encounter a stationary emergency or utility vehicle with flashing red, blue, yellow, amber, or white lights.
If drivers can't move over, they must slow down at least 20 miles per hour below the speed limit on roadways with speed limits higher than 45mph, and to at least 25 miles per hour on roadways with speed limits under 45mph.
Failure to do so can result in a class 6 felony if it results in the death of another person.
Legislative Push for Additional Protections
AAA has introduced legislation to extend Slow Down, Move Over protections to all motorists. Passed by the Colorado General Assembly's Transportation Legislation Review Committee last month, the bill, sponsored by Representatives Kurt Huffman (R - Highlands Ranch), Janice Rich (R - Grand Junction), and Mandy Lindsay (D - Aurora) and Senators Faith Winter (D - Westminster) and Jeff Bridges (D - Greenwood Village) will go before the full legislature next year.
When signed into law, the bill will require drivers to slow down or move over when they encounter any stationary motor vehicle, with hazard lights flashing, at the roadside.
"This legislation matters because, fundamentally, anybody can end up stranded at the roadside - you, your loved ones, friends, coworkers, and neighbors. Everybody deserves protection," McKinley said. "We're excited to carry it into law next year. For now, drivers can help save a life by simply slowing down and moving over whenever they see any vehicle in the breakdown lane. It's the right thing to do."
Nearly 30 percent of Coloradans are unaware of the state's existing Slow Down, Move Over laws, per a recent AAA survey. AAA's "Move Over for Me" campaign aims to change that with advocacy messages featuring familiar roadside scenarios like getting a flat tire, engine trouble, or running out of gas. The campaign will appear on social media, at events in our communities, in the AAA Living magazine, on television, in AAA retail facilities, and on service vehicles. More information on the campaign can be found at AAA.com/SlowDownMoveOver.
To protect emergency responders, AAA and other traffic safety advocates have led the way in getting Move Over laws passed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. This year, AAA is also working with the Towing and Recovery Association of America to introduce a federal resolution for a National Move Over Law Day. A national day is one more way to remind drivers of the importance of paying attention, slowing down and moving over when they see others at the side of the road working or stranded with a disabled vehicle.
AAA's tips to protect roadside workers and stranded motorists
• Remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on driving.
• Keep an eye out for emergency vehicles - including tow trucks - that have their lights on as well as cars that have their flashers on. Move over one lane when you see them and if you can't move over, slow down to safely pass them.
• Be a good passenger. Help identify roadway issues and remind the driver to slow down and move over.
• Watch for people on the roadside. People may be in or near a disabled vehicle. Just because you don't immediately see them doesn't mean they aren't there.
For Stranded Motorists:
• Pull as far over on the shoulder as safely possible to create more distance between your vehicle and passing traffic.
• Turn your hazard lights on so other drivers are aware you are there.
• If you are able to safely make it to the next exit or stopping point, do so.
• Call for assistance via phone, website or the AAA Mobile app.
• Remain with your vehicle as long as it's safe to do so.
• If getting out of your vehicle, watch the oncoming traffic for a good time to exit, and remain alert and close to your vehicle. Avoid turning your back to traffic whenever possible.