WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – As part of Crash Responder Safety Week, local first responders are sending a message to drivers to use extreme caution while driving near accidents.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly once every week, a first responder is killed while attempting to clear a roadway accident. And many more sustain life-altering injuries while responding to traffic accidents.

Move Over Law

Crash Responder Safety Week is meant to promote road user awareness and adherence to Move Over laws.

Massachusetts State Law requires drivers to slow down and move over for stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and highway maintenance vehicles. The law, enacted in 2009, makes failure to slow down and move over, resulting in a $100 fine.

22News spoke with Lt. Anthony Spear of the West Springfield Fire Department who recalled instances where drivers failed to use caution while driving near accidents.

“It’s a pretty staggering number. We’ve had members here that have been struck on the highway while working. We have our back to the traffic oftentimes,” said Lt. Spear.

The Federal Highway Administration recommends slowing down and moving into the next lane if you see an accident or any pulled over in the brake-down lane. Also making sure to avoid distracted driving at all times while out on the roads.

According to a news release from Congressman James McGovern’s office, the passage of H. Res. 1463 deems a resolution that would support the goals and ideals of “move over” laws. Every state has a “move over” law, aimed at keeping roadside responders safe by requiring drivers to move over at least one lane when passing an incident. If drivers are unable to move over, then they must slow down and pass the scene with caution. Yet a recent GAO report cited the lack of public awareness about “move over” laws as a key obstacle to their effectiveness. This resolution affirms the House’s commitment to the safety of these resp