Georgia law enforcement officials risk their lives every day to protect innocent civilians. While there are many dangers faced by these brave men and women on a daily basis, one of the most dangerous is making traffic or emergency stops on Georgia highways. This may be a surprise to you, but statistics report the leading cause of death for on-duty law enforcement officials to be traffic-related incidents. In the first six months of 2014 alone, 26 officers lost their lives in traffic-related crashes. Unfortunately, this is an increase of 37 percent since the same time period in 2013.
Unfortunately, many Georgians may fail to recognize the dangers that law enforcement officials face daily on our highways. Although all 50 U.S. states have enacted “Move Over” laws, 71 percent of Americans do not know they exist. According to www.DrivingLaw.AAA.com, Georgia’s “Move Over” law requires:
“drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights, including towing and recovery vehicles, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do so, or slow below the posted speed limit to a speed reasonable for road and traffic conditions.”
These laws may not be commonly known about, but they are incredibly effective ways to keep our police and emergency officials safe while serving. The penalty for violating the “Move Over” law may include fines and jail time, but the most substantial punishment may be living with the results of such a roadside crash.
Automobile-roadside pedestrian crashes are typically the most devastating. Motor vehicles, no matter how compact or over-sized, will always cause severe injuries to pedestrians struck by them. The weight and materials of automobiles can cause injuries such as broken bones, brain injuries, and more. Pedestrian accidents can be easily avoided, though, so we urge you to take the proper precautions when you operate a vehicle on Georgia roadways.
The NHTSA is partnering with various organizations to promote education of the “Move Over” law so that the number of deaths will decrease in months to come. You will likely see advertising campaigns for “Move Over. It’s the Law” in coming months, and we urge you to educate your family members and friends of this law so that our law enforcement officials can be safer on Georgia roadways. To learn more about the “Move Over” law or this marketing campaign, visit www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov.