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As spring approaches and we venture out on the roads, MassDOT and MAPFRE Insurance want to remind everyone of the importance of a law aimed at saving the lives of first responders.

A Highway Assistance Patrol vehicle assists a motorist on Route 2 in Concord, MA. Courtesy of Travelers Marketing.

A Highway Assistance Patrol vehicle assists a motorist on Route 2 in Concord, MA. Courtesy of Travelers Marketing.

We have all seen police cars, state troopers, ambulances and the Highway Assistance Patrol, sponsored by MAPFRE Insurance, on the roadside helping broken down vehicles or other motorists in need of assistance. Not only is it important to “Move Over” so that these brave individuals can do their job, it is a requirement.

Sadly, every year in Massachusetts and around the country, first responders stopped and working on the roadside are struck and injured or killed by motorists. The Move Over Law, which took effect March 22, 2009, requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency or maintenance vehicle with flashing lights to move to the next adjacent lane if it is safe to do so, and, barring that, to reduce their speed. Failure to comply could result in a fine of up to $100.  In fact, on New Year’s Day a police cruiser was struck from behind after having pulled over to help a State Police trooper on a motor vehicle stop. “Both cruisers had their emergency lights on and flashing at the time of the accident, police said.”

In an effort to get the message out to the public, on select days, troopers from the Community Action Team and the Charlton barracks have patrolled the highway and issued warnings to offenders. Additionally, the hashtag #MoveOver is sometimes seen on Twitter while local fire and police departments post messages while responding to calls.  The Mass State Police posted a video. Share it and help to spread the word about the Move Over Law– you can help save a life.

Written By Patrick McDonald, CPCU, AIM, AIS, Executive Vice President – Business & Clients, MAPFRE  Insurance

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