AAA, Broadcasters Team Up on Roadside Safety

(CHICAGO) — AAA – The Auto Club Group is partnering with the Illinois Broadcasters Association to air Public Safety Announcements educating the public about roadside safety.

Law enforcement officers, emergency responders, tow truck operators and other roadside workers put their lives on the line every day to keep motorists safe. The National Move Over Awareness Day is designed to promote safe driving behavior and encourage motorists to move over for all vehicles stopped on the side of the roadway.

“For the Illinois State Police, the Move Over Law holds significant prominence in our enforcement efforts and crashes caused by failures to obey the law have left deep scars in the fabric of our ISP family,” said Illinois State Police Division of Patrol Lieutenant Colonel Jason Bradley.  “The men and women of the ISP bravely leave their homes every day to go to work, risking their lives to protect the motoring public.  Education on the Move Over Law is vital to their safety and why partnerships like this are invaluable to us.”

Approximately 200 roadside workers and first responders — one every six days — loses their life at the roadside and hundreds more are injured while assisting motorists. Additionally, one tow truck driver is killed every other week while working on the roadside and nearly 350 people are struck and killed outside a disabled vehicle each year.

“’Move Over for Me’ is a message that applies to everyone, but it has special importance for emergency responders who spend a significant amount of time exposed to passing traffic on the roadside,” said Nick Jarmusz, director of public affairs for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “These professionals simply want to make it thought their shift and get home to their loved ones after they are done helping others try to make it home to theirs. Drivers should give them – and fellow motorists stuck on the side of the road – the space necessary to stay safe.”

Ongoing educational campaigns are critical so that stranded motorists, emergency responders, tow truck operators and all who come to the aid of motorists, are able to get home safely.

To continue to promote safety on the roads, IBA is airing ACG’s “Move Over for Me” campaign – radio and broadcast – throughout Illinois. The campaign prioritizes roadside safety for all motorists by raising awareness of Move Over laws. ACG was awarded the “Public Affairs Campaign of the Year” by PR Daily’s Social Media & Digital Awards for this campaign.

“Clearly the 8+ million licensed drivers in Illinois are also heavy consumers of broadcast media,” remarked Dennis Lyle, President and CEO of the Illinois Broadcasters Association. “We felt what better way to help educate those drivers of the common sense of moving over when approaching a side-of-road vehicle then joining AAA in helping underwrite a public education campaign that utilized our many members’ airwaves.”

A survey by AAA finds that 97% of motorists are concerned about vehicles passing at high speeds when they are stopped on the side of the road. This coupled with the rising number of roadway fatalities reinforces that motorists need to slow down and move over for all vehicles on the roadside, regardless of if it is an emergency vehicle or tow provider with flashing lights or a disabled vehicle belonging to a driver with their hazard lights on.

AAA’s tips to protect and emergency responders, tow truck operators and stranded motorists:

For Drivers:

  • Remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on driving.
  • Keep an eye out for emergency vehicles – including tow trucks – that have their lights on as well as cars that have their flashers on. Move over one lane when you see them and if you can’t move over, slow down to safely pass them.
  • Be a good passenger. Help identify roadway issues and remind the driver to slow down and move over.
  • Watch for people on the roadside. People may be in or near a disabled vehicle. Just because you don’t immediately see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

For Stranded Motorists:

  • Pull as far over on the shoulder as safely possible to create more distance between your vehicle and passing traffic.
  • Turn your hazard lights on so other drivers are aware you are there.
  • If you are able to safely make it to the next exit or stopping point, do so.
  • Call for assistance via phone, website or the AAA Mobile app.
  • Remain with your vehicle as long as it’s safe to do so.
  • If getting out of your vehicle, watch the oncoming traffic for a good time to exit, and remain alert and close to your vehicle. Avoid turning your back to traffic whenever possible.