Caltrans, Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), California Highway Patrol (CHP), Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District (Sac Metro), California Tow Truck Association (CCTA), and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) joined together today during Crash Responder Safety Week to remind drivers to slow down and move over near traffic incidents and work zones to prevent serious injuries and deaths on California’s roadway.
California’s Move Over law requires drivers to move over a lane down when approaching stopped emergency or maintenance vehicles with flashing amber lights. If unable to do so safely, you must slow down. This week recognizes that the public’s health, safety, and well-being are often dependent on the commitment of first responders, including roadway workers, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical personnel, and tow operators, to conduct invaluable and often life-saving operations on the side of our roads. When first responders report to an incident that is their work zone.
Caltrans has partnered with the OTS and CHP to launch the “Move Over” campaign. The “Move Over” campaign features Jaylie and Isabela’s grandpa, and other Caltrans workers and their families, a reminder that workers have families and loved ones who need them to come home every day. The campaign, which is part of Caltrans’ larger “Be Work Zone Alert” campaign includes public service announcements, billboards, radio, television, and social and digital media.
“Safety is our top priority,” said Caltrans Director Tony Tavares. “Slowing down and moving over is a simple and incredibly effective way to save lives, and if every driver followed this law, it would move us closer to our vision of reaching zero fatalities and serious injuries on roadways throughout the state by 2050.”
Each year, first responders are struck by passing motorists, often while aiding motorists and clearing roadway incidents, causing serious injury or death. Traffic-related incidents are the leading cause of death for on-duty law enforcement officers, fire, EMS, maintenance workers, and tow/recovery professionals. Many of these incidents could have been prevented if motorists had followed the Move Over law.
“Your actions to move over a lane or slow down for highway workers, first responders, law enforcement and tow truck operators allow these brave individuals to get home to their families and loved ones,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. “Highway workers put their lives on the line to serve the public and drivers can do their part by safely passing when they see workers out on the road.”
“Tragically, between 2018 and 2022, 154 CHP officers were injured, 14 severely, and two officers lost their lives on California roadsides. Many of these crashes were due to drivers under the influence,” said CHP Chief Mike Dust. “If you ever encounter an impaired or dangerous driver, we strongly encourage you to call 911 and provide our CHP dispatchers with a detailed description of the vehicle and its location. Being a good witness could prevent a tragedy.”
Moving over and slowing down when passing a vehicle stopped on the roadway with flashing lights in California isn’t just a matter of following the law—it is about saving lives. The “Move Over” law exists to provide a safer environment for maintenance and emergency vehicles stopped along roadsides close to fast-moving traffic.
“We must remember that our first responders are not just names and badges, they are our neighbors, friends, moms and dads and family members,” said Adam House, fire chief of the Sacramento Metropolitan Fire District. “They have loved ones who eagerly await their safe return home each day. They deserve our support, and we must take conscious actions now to ensure their safety and well-being.”
“Towing Professionals are the ones we rely on when the unexpected happens. We depend on them to keep our roadways open and get our vehicles back in motion. We train over 900 operators yearly with a tremendous emphasis on safety, we want every operator to go home at the end of their shift to family and loved ones,” said California Tow Truck and Emergency Road Service Coalition of America Association and Emergency President Craig Baker. “Keeping clear attention while slowing down and moving over will help prevent future loss of our roadway guardians. The California Tow Truck Association along with Emergency Road Service Coalition of America will continue to push for awareness to the motoring public until there are no more lives lost on our roadways.”
All 50 States have “Move Over” laws to protect roadway workers, law enforcement officers, fire fighters, tow truck drivers and other first responders stopped on our roads. Yet one-third of the public is not aware of these laws.
In 2021, more than 10,000 work-zone crashes occurred on California roadways, resulting in more than 4,500 injuries and 120 fatalities. Nationally, drivers and passengers account for 85% of those killed in work zones.
Save a life. Slow down and move over when approaching flashing amber lights!
For more information on the campaign visit: http://beworkzonealert.com/