AAA and highway safety officials heighten awareness for “Move Over Law”

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – In the last 6 years, 1,600 people on the side of the road have been struck and killed by a passing vehicle.

This has happened even with Massachusetts’ Move Over Law in effect, requiring drivers to slow down and move into the left lane on the highway when approaching a vehicle with flashing lights in the breakdown lane.

“The side of the highway is a dangerous place,” said Mayor Michael Michno of the Massachusetts State Police. “The state police knows this on a very personal level.”

According to state police, many drivers they’ve pulled over for this claim they didn’t know about the law.

“When drivers do pull over for this, they state they are unaware of the law,” said Major Michno. “That’s their main excuse.”

Roughly 24 first responders die each year because of this. And just in 2021 alone, 14 tow truck drivers have been killed in the U.S. helping others on the side of the road.

The Move Over Law has been in effect in Massachusetts since 2009. You could be fined up to $100 for failing to comply, but its not just about a fine here, your actions could seriously injure or kill someone on the side of the road. Another big part of the problem: distracted driving.

“You can’t look ahead if if you have your phone in your hands, and you’re looking at your phone,” said Jeff Larason, the Director of Highway Safety for the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security. “So we’re asking all drivers to focus their attention ahead.”

State police affirmed Thursday their troopers are looking out for this on highways. In 2018, they wrote 224 citations for drivers who failed to move over, and 208 citations in 2019.

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