NHTSA, CDOT, CSP and FHWA Launch “Move Over” Campaign to Protect First Responders

February 7, 2017 - Traffic Safety - Message to Drivers: Move Over. It’s the Law.


STATEWIDE — Every day on our roadways, first responders put their lives at risk to protect the public—especially while on the side of the road.  Traffic-related incidents are the leading cause of death for on-duty law enforcement officers, fire, EMS, maintenance workers, and tow/recovery professionals.  In an effort to protect first responders and others, a new campaign is  educating motorists about the State’s “Move Over” law that require drivers to move over and/or slow down when approaching stopped emergency and maintenance vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is partnering with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), the Colorado State Patrol (CSP), the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), and the Towing and Recovery Association of Colorado (TRPC) to get the word out to every motorist: Move Over. It’s the Law.

“We see it too often,” said Major Tim Keeton, Colorado State Patrol. “Law enforcement officers and first responders work in dangerous traffic situations all the time, but drivers increase their risk of being hit when they zoom by and ignore the flashing lights—and the law.”  According to recent data, 52 law enforcement officers were killed in traffic-related incidents in 2015. Out of those killed in 2015, 11 officers were struck and killed outside their vehicles.   That’s why all drivers need to know the law and follow it.

NHTSA Regional Administrator Gina Espinosa-Salcedo stresses the meaning behind this state and regional awareness campaign. “Most drivers think that moving over is a just a courtesy and fail to Move Over,” she said. “It’s not optional, it’s the law, and that is why we will work to protect every first responder who has to stand on the side of the roadway, risking their lives to render aid to others”.

In Colorado, State law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency and maintenance vehicles that are displaying flashing lights, including tow trucks, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the closest lane. If it is not safe to do so, motorists must slow down to a reasonable speed safe for existing weather, road, and traffic conditions.

“Every day law enforcement officers and CDOT maintenance workers risks their lives on our roadways,” said Shailen Bhatt, CDOT Executive Director. “As members of the public we must help mitigate the danger they face by moving over or slowing down when we see them on the side of the road.” 

To kick off the Move Over campaign, NHTSA, FHWA, and CDOT are holding a Traffic Incident Management (TIM) training course for first responders on Tuesday, February 7th at the U.S. Department of Transportation in Lakewood.  TIM is a coordinated multi-disciplinary process to detect, respond to, and clear traffic incidents so that traffic flow may be restored as safely and quickly as possible.  Effective TIM reduces the duration and impacts of traffic incidents and improves the safety of motorists, crash victims, and emergency responders.