A recent survey indicates 71 percent of Americans haven’t heard of “move over” laws designed to protect police on the roadside, but a public-awareness campaign hopes to change that.
Forty states have passed laws requiring drivers to change lanes whenever feasible to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers parked on roadsides. If traffic doesn’t allow a lane change, or the road is only two lanes, drivers must slow down at least 20 mph under the posted speed limit. Most of these laws also require drivers to move over or slow down for any emergency vehicles on the roadside with their lights flashing.
Since 1997, more than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed when struck by vehicles along U.S. highways, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. In a June poll of 625 Americans by Mason Dixon Polling & Research, 71 percent had not heard of “move-over” laws, but once the concept was explained, 86 percent supported enacting such laws in every state.
A TV public-service announcement and an interactive state-by-state map of “move-over” laws are at www.MoveOverAmerica.com. The National Safety Commission, the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of Police Organizations are sponsoring the campaign.