What does "Slow Down, Move Over" look like in 2023?

In 2023 the most important message to all motorists remains the same: If you see flashing lights on the road, slow down and move over for the safety of all emergency responders.

We at Tow Adz continue to do our part to help educate the public to adhere to the “Slow Down and Move Over” traffic laws adopted in all fifty states.  In spite of legislative efforts to update and educate the public, accidents resulting in serious injuries and fatalities to motorists, emergency responders and tow truck drivers continue to soar. Yes…….  TOW TRUCK drivers like you!  

According to a news release by AAA on January 9, 2023, one tow truck driver is killed every other week on average, while working on the roadside, with nearly 250 people struck and killed outside disabled vehicles each year nationwide. According to the Emergency Responder Safety Institute (ERSI) 2021 report, “emergency responders” include police, highway patrol, sheriffs, firefighters, and tow/road service technicians. The 2021 report noted 65 total fatalities in which 22 were tow truck drivers and 2 tow truck service technicians. This report did not include the hundreds of injuries sustained to both emergency responders and motorist involving disabled roadside vehicles, strictly fatalities.

The most recent ERSI’s first quarter data report available for 2022 already indicates 16 emergency responders have been killed in struck-by incidents. If this number continues to increase at a similar rate that 2021 did, we will be looking at another high nearing 2021’s 65 fatalities reported. With the harsh winter storms during the past winter months, we may see even higher year end fatality totals. These statistics have only increased over the past three years with no relief in sight. Even one death or injury is one too many to those injured along with the family and friends left to mourn their losses.

So we ask… what is being done to continue in the prevention efforts of injury and fatalities?  Although it’s true that currently all 50 states do have laws that require all motorists to move their vehicles over at least one lane when available or to slow down when approaching an emergency roadside scene, but the rising numbers suggests it’s not enough. More is needed to protect everyone involved in such situations.

Preventing future tragedies can only be accomplished if all motorists do their part to follow safe practices on roadways. Be mindful when coming upon a highway traffic incident because it’s not only the law, it saves lives! Remember the emergency responders, who put themselves at risk to help all motorists while on our roads stay safe, need our protection too! Do your part and share this blog with your families, friends, and motorists across the nation, and remind them to SLOW DOWN and MOVE OVER! Be safe and let us all do our part to reduce these unnecessary incidents.

Author:  Liz Bates
February 13, 2023