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Driving. It’s something many of us take for granted as part of our day-to-day lives. Many of us also drive for work, even if only occasionally.

But did you know, that in Massachusetts, 74 workers were killed in motor vehicle related events from 2007-2014?

  • Forty-six of these workers died in motor vehicle crashes, many while driving in either a company vehicle or a personal vehicle for work purposes.
  • Twenty-eight of these workers were fatally struck by vehicles or equipment while performing job tasks.

Employers have a special role to protect those who drive as part of their jobs by developing safe driving plans, which can drastically reduce the risks of fatal motor vehicle crashes to employees.

All of us, as drivers, also play a role in the protection of workers whose jobs place them behind the wheel or along roadways. Think about workers you see all the time on the road—police officers, utility workers, crossing guards, roadway construction workers, tow truck operators. Our driving affects their safety.

Tow Truck - Move Over on RoadIn the past 9 months alone, in Massachusetts, one tow truck operator has been killed and two others seriously injured after being struck by vehicles while working at the side of the road. Tow truck operators, in particular, are at greatest risk of being struck while helping motorists with flat tires or broken down cars, because they often have to work extremely close to moving traffic in order to access the disabled vehicles.

That is why moving over to the next lane while driving it is so important when you see an emergency or maintenance vehicle on the side of the road. It’s not just the safe thing to do, it’s the law.

The Move Over Law

In Massachusetts, the Move Over Law aims to make police, firefighters, paramedics, tow truck drivers, and all roadside emergency and maintenance professionals safer on the job.  The law requires drivers approaching a stopped emergency or maintenance vehicle with flashing lights to move to the next lane if it’s safe to do so, and to reduce their speed if they cannot move over.  Failure to comply could result in a fine.

The next time you see flashing lights at the side of the road, remember the Move Over Law. Giving these workers the space they need to get the job done lets them get off the road more quickly and safely. Who knew that such a simple act as moving over could have such a big impact on the lives of others? Now that can give us all peace of mind as we go about our own day-to-day driving.

Written By:

Occupational Fatality Projects Coordinator, Occupational Health Surveillance Program

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