BOSTON (CBS) – As traffic returns to pre-pandemic levels, nearly a quarter of all drivers say they’re still not aware of the “Move Over” law in their state, according to a recent study.
The law is in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, but a AAA study found 23-percent of the drivers surveyed didn’t know anything about it.
It requires that drivers move over and change lanes if you come upon a first responder helping another driver on the side of the road. All too often, police officers, tow truck drivers and other workers are struck by distracted or impaired drivers.
AAA is hoping the research will help raise awareness ahead of National Move Over Day this Saturday.
Massachusetts enacted the “Move Over” law on March 22, 2009.
AAA road tech Gerry Hunt relies on his emergency lights to let motorists know he’s helping someone on the side of the highway.
“When I’m down changing a tire, I learn to face the traffic coming at me so I can see what their intentions are,” said Hunt.
He added that he has had too many close calls.
“People should just think about other people’s lives. If they think about other people’s lives, then they’ll have more understanding about what we’re doing out here.”
More than 500 move over citations have been issued over the last three years, with the number still climbing this year.
“They may not seem like huge totals, but the threat posed by drivers who fails to move over is fairly significant,” said Major Michael Michno with the Massachusetts State Police.
The AAA study found that among those who are aware of their state’s “Move Over” law, “about 15% report not understanding the potential consequences” for violating it.
Earlier this month during traffic details, a North Attleboro police officer was struck and injured. A trooper was also hit by a tractor-trailer in Weston and seriously injured.
In Washington, D.C. on Thursday, trooper Thomas Devlin’s name will be added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial. He was also struck on the highway in Billerica in July of 2018 and died two years later from his injuries.
“I just want people to understand we have to do our jobs,” said Hunt.
Drivers who don’t comply in Massachusetts face a fine of up to $100.