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Traffic Safety Coordinator- Corporal Tyeler Riggs


Every day, thousands of law enforcement officers and other first responders take to the streets to help keep Americans safe. And every day, they put their lives at risk to do so. One of the most dangerous parts of a first responder's job is stepping out on the side of the road, whether it is for a traffic stop, to assist a motorist, or to investigate a crash. Since 2017, there have been 149 law enforcement officers alone killed in traffic-related incidents.

In an effort to protect law enforcement and first responders, every State has "Move Over" laws, requiring drivers to slow down and, if safe to do so, move over when approaching stopped emergency vehicles with emergency lights activated. The U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is working with local highway safety partners and law enforcement to help get the word out to every motorist: Move Over. It's the Law.

The "Move Over" law isn't new: It was first introduced in South Carolina in 1996. In 2012, Hawaii was the final State to enact such a law. The law protects all first responders, including law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, safety service patrols, and towing vehicles. Unfortunately, law enforcement officers and other first responders are still killed every year by drivers who fail to move over.

"It's such an easy thing to do to keep our first responder community safe," said Corporal Tyeler Riggs. "These emergency personnel work in dangerous situations all the time, but drivers really increase that risk for them when they zoom by and ignore the flashing lights - and the law." That's why all drivers need to know the law and follow it. By following this law, we protect those who protect us.

NHTSA has used a similar high-visibility approach in other traffic safety campaigns, such as Click It or Ticket, to increase seat belt use. These tactics have proven helpful in getting the word out about existing laws and the reasons they're important.

Chief Spinks stressed the meaning behind the national awareness campaign. "Many drivers seem to think that moving over is just an optional courtesy when they see law enforcement or emergency vehicles pulled over on the side of the road," he said. "It's not optional. Move Over. It's the Law.

According to Kansas state law, failing to move over for an emergency response vehicle would result in a fine of $75 if the offense occurred on a four-lane road or highway. The fine goes up to $105 if you are caught failing to move over for an emergency vehicle on a two-lane road.

Emergency personnel can only do so much to keep themselves safe when they pull over on the side of the road. The rest of the responsibility falls on other motorists. Remember, next time you see those flashing lights on the side of the road, slow down and, if safe to do so, Move Over. It's the Law.

For more information about the Move Over. It's the Law. campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/get-materials/first-responder-safety/move-over.


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