AAA Northeast Holds Virtual Conference On Move Over Laws

HYANNIS – AAA Northeast recently held a virtual press conference to highlight the Massachusetts Move Over Law in honor of Distracted Driver Awareness Month.

First responders, tow truck drivers, and others assisting motorists on the side of the road are vulnerable to drivers distracted by their cell phones and navigation systems.

“The law is simple. When you see red, yellow or blue lights flashing at the roadside, slow down and move over to the next adjacent lane if it’s safe to do so,” said Mary Maguire, Director of Public & Government Affairs for AAA Northeast.

According to John Galvin, President & CEO of AAA Northeast, 14 tow truck drivers across the country have been killed in roadside accidents this year, and on average 24 first responders die from roadside accidents each year.

“And it’s not only roadside responders who are at risk,” said Galvin.

“Since 2015 almost 1,600 people have been struck and killed standing alongside of disabled vehicles on the roadside.”

The pandemic months saw an increase in speeding as drivers inclined to speed took advantage of low traffic volume and long stretches of open roads.

“As everyone who commutes by car everyday can attest, we are for all intents and purposes back to pre-pandemic traffic volume. There is less open space for speeders to accelerate, but the problem of drivers failing to move over is a persistent threat,” said Major Michael Michno of the Massachusetts State Police.

“Emergency vehicles, tow trucks and road construction crews continue to be put in danger by drivers who failed to move over,” he said.

The conference also highlighted Hands Free Laws which prohibit adult drivers from using any electronic device, including mobile phones, unless they are in hands free mode.

Teens under 18 are prohibited from using any electronic device while at the wheel, even those in hands free mode.

Since the Hands Free Law took effect in Massachusetts in February 2020, the RMV has reported over 53,000 warnings for distracted driving, including violations of improper use of mobile devices by drivers.

According to AAA, the safest drivers are the ones who are most aware of what’s up ahead. Being aware of what’s ahead and staying alert allows drivers more time to recognize vehicles that are stopped ahead and to safely change their lane.

The next portion of Distracted Driver Awareness Month will focus on National Teen Driver Safety Week, which lasts from October 17 to October 23.

Tips on safe driving and links to educational videos can be found by clicking here.

By, Matthew Tomlinson, NewsCenter

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