By Todd Leiss
Over the past few years, fatalities of United States Emergency Responders have continued to increase. In 2021, 65 United States Emergency Responders were struck and killed while helping others on our roadways; that’s up from 46 in 2020 and 44 in 2019. Emergency responders include firefighters, EMS, tow truck operators, police and safety service patrol workers, among others.
All 50 states have a Move Over law; the specifics of the laws vary by state but all require motorists to move over for an emergency vehicle with flashing lights (red, blue or amber) to give the emergency responders on the side of the roadway or at an incident scene room to work. If you cannot safely move over, you must at least slow down and use caution when approaching these emergency responders. In the event that you cannot move over or slow down, you should stop before you strike the emergency responder or motorists along the roadway.
Each year, hundreds of emergency responders are struck by motorists that fail to move over, slow down, or stop. Often, these motorists are “D” Drivers — drivers who are drunk, drugged, drowsy, distracted, dangerous or just plain dumb. Obviously, you don’t want to drive when you are impaired by anything – from substances to lack of sleep. Remember: your only action when you are behind the wheel is to just look out your windshield and drive. You may save the life of someone who makes sacrifices each day to save yours. Get more information on passing an emergency scene at Responder Safety.