Motorists reminded of laws protecting roadside emergency crews
MADISON, Wisc. (October 14, 2022) – AAA – The Auto Club Group and Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers are highlighting the dangers faced by roadside emergency responders, and encouraging motorists to be alert and drive safely when approaching disabled motorists or crash scenes.
AAA - The Auto Club Group worked with the Office of Governor Evers on a proclamation declaring October 15th “Slow Down, Move Over” day to help “remind all drivers of their duty to drive safely and take every precaution to reduce the risk of secondary crashes, including by being aware of and following the laws designed to provide a safety zone for workers on the side of roadways.”
From 2017 to 2021, there were nearly 2,400 crashes involving emergency vehicles in Wisconsin. About 735 people were injured and five were killed in those incidents.
Wisconsin Act 115, which took effect in December 2021, doubles fines for certain traffic violations within 500 feet of an authorized emergency vehicle with a visible signal, or a tow truck with flashing red lights. If a driver causes bodily harm to a worker, they may be fined up to $10,000 or jailed nine months, or both. The emergency response area law expanded on the state’s Move Over Law, which requires motorists to move out of the lane closest to an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing. Drivers must slow down if they cannot move over.
“We can’t stress enough how important it is to pay attention so you have time to change lanes when you see emergency responders along the side of the road,” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “These workers are trying to make a living while caring for others. Please slow down and move over so they can get home to their families”
To help keep first responders and the motorists they are assisting safe on the roadside, AAA and The Auto Club Group Foundation are awarding a total of $43,000 in grants for public safety agencies across Wisconsin to purchase equipment that increases their visibility and expedites incident clearance. The agencies receiving grants are:
- Milwaukee Police Department
- Sheboygan County Sheriff’s Office
- Fox Point Police Department (Milwaukee County)
- Rockwood Volunteer Fire Department (Manitowoc County)
- Shawano County Sheriff’s Office
- Shawano Police Department (Shawano County)
- Oconto Falls Fire Department (Oconto County)
- Stoughton Police Department (Dane County)
- Town of Milton Police Department (Rock County)
- Town of Fulton Police Department (Rock County)
- Footville Police Department (Rock County)
- Endeavor/Moundville Volunteer Fire Department (Marquette County)
- Crandon Area Rescue Squad (Forest County)
AAA and other traffic safety advocates have led the way in getting Move Over laws passed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia and are working with the Towing and Recovery Association of America to introduce a federal resolution for a National Move Over Law Day.
AAA – The Auto Club Group also recently launched the Move Over for Me campaign as a way to remind drivers of the importance of paying attention, slowing down and moving over when they see anyone at the side of the road working or stranded with a disabled vehicle. Wisconsin’s current law does not yet cover disabled vehicles when an emergency responder is not present. Research shows that nearly 350 people are struck and killed every year while outside a disabled vehicle on the roadside in the United States.
About AAA - The Auto Club Group
The Auto Club Group (ACG) is the second largest AAA club in North America with more than 13 million members across 14 U.S. states, the province of Quebec and two U.S. territories. ACG and its affiliates provide members with roadside assistance, insurance products, banking and financial services, travel offerings and more. ACG belongs to the national AAA federation with more than 62 million members in the United States and Canada. AAA’s mission is to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve traffic safety. For more information, get the AAA Mobile app, visit AAA.com, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.