AAA urges motorists to ‘Slow Down, Move Over’ as roadside accidents increase

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While no specific date has been announced for the rollout of cashless tolling in New York, the state’s Thruway Authority still plans on doing it some time in the month of November.

NEW YORK (WWTI) — AAA issued a “grim” reminder on Wednesday morning as roadside accidents are increasing across the country.

According to AAA, this summer, two of its tow providers were killed while assisting motorists. The insurance company said that this highlights the dangers of working on the shoulders of congested roads.

New data from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety also found that among drivers who do not comply with Move Over laws, 42% thought this behavior was somewhat or not dangerous at all to roadside emergency workers. AAA stated that this demonstrates that drivers may not realize “how risky” it is for those working or stranded along highways.

“Deaths like these can be avoided if drivers slow down and move over to give these people room to work safely,” AAA President and CEO Marshall Doney said in a press release. “We can’t stress enough how important it is to pay attention so you have time to change lanes when you see AAA, an emergency responder, or simply anybody along the side of the road.”

On July 4 in Ohio, 32-year-old Glenn Ewing was killed while placing a disabled vehicle on the back a flatbed on the side of a road. More recently, 30-year-old David Meyer was assisting a driver on the left-hand shoulder in Colorado when he was also struck and killed. As of August 2021, 14 AAA tow providers have been killed while helping others at the roadside.

In New York State, 33 people have been killed while outside a disabled vehicle from 2015 to 2019, despite the NYS Move Over law which requires all drivers to proceed with caution, and if possible, move over one lane when passing an emergency vehicle, tow truck or road maintenance vehicle with flashing or rotating lights parked on the roadside.

And it’s not only tow providers and other emergency responders being killed. AAA stated that since 2015, over 1,600 people have been stuck and killed while outside of a disabled vehicle.

To protect these individuals, AAA and other traffic safety advocates encourage the following tips for motorists:

  • Remain alert, avoid distrations and focus on the task of driving
  • Keep an eye out for situations where emergency vehicles, tow trucks, utility service vehicles or disabled vehicles are stopped on the side of the road
  • When these situations are witnessed, slow down, and if possible, move one lane over and away from the people and vehicles stopped.

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