Every day, dedicated emergency responders put their lives on the line to ensure the safety and well-being of motorists involved in roadway incidents. These traffic incident responders put their lives at risk when clearing each of the nearly seven million annual motor vehicle crashes or the broader range of incidents, such as stalled vehicles or roadway debris.1 National Crash Responder Safety Week, November 13-17, 2023, shines a spotlight on the critical issue of their safety and the importance of safeguarding those who protect us.
One of the primary goals to raise awareness about this week is to educate the public on Georgia’s Move Over Law. The Georgia Move Over Law requires drivers to move over one lane when possible if an emergency vehicle with flashing lights is parked on the shoulder of the highway. If traffic is too heavy to move over safely, the law requires drivers to slow down below the posted speed limit instead AND be prepared to stop.2 Failure to obey this law can result in a fine up to $500 or even more severe consequences.
Captain Ritchie Howard, Georgia State Patrol Troop C Commander, offered his thoughts on the importance of the law. “Move over! Give them the space to return home safely.”
Public outreach is another key component of this awareness week. Law enforcement agencies, fire departments, and emergency services hold open houses, workshops, and community events to foster a greater understanding of their work. By bridging the gap between responders and the public, these efforts help build mutual respect and support. Check with your local agencies to see what events they have going on or ways you can get involved.
What else can you do to protect our roadside heroes? Obey the move over law, remain attentive when driving, and learn the common responsibility we all share for safe roadway clearance.
1 Crash Responder Safety Week, November 13-17, 2023, U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration, https://ops.fhwa.dot.gov/tim/crash_responder.htm
2 Move Over Law, Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, https://www.gahighwaysafety.org/move-over-law/#:~:text=The%20Georgia%20Move%20Over%20Law,to%20be%20prepared%20to%20stop.