AAA Northeast urges motorists to heed Slow Down, Move Over law

So, it’s happened again: the parked vehicle of an emergency responder, assisting a disabled motorist, is struck on the side of the highway.

The latest incident occurred yesterday on Interstate 291 in South Windsor when a tractor-trailer crashed into a Connecticut State Trooper’s cruiser, parked behind the disabled vehicle.

Though no injuries were reported in this incident, the situation again drives home the fact: many Connecticut motorists still aren’t heeding the state’s Slow Down, Move Over law. You see it daily on our roadways.

“Connecticut’s “Slow Down, Move Over” law means just that,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “When a driver sees an emergency vehicle, whether it’s a state police cruiser, fire truck, ambulance, DOT workers, or a tow truck with activated lights, drivers need to reasonably slow down below the speed limit.” And if possible, they should move to the adjacent lane to give responders space to operate, she said.

Since the beginning of the year, media accounts have reported nearly a dozen near — hits or actual crashes of emergency responders on state roadways. Although most publicized incidents involve state police, AAA Northeast tow truck drivers have also experienced numerous close calls. In fact, one AAA employee was seriously injured in a multi-vehicle crash in Southport last year, when a speeding box truck collided into two parked AAA vehicles helping a disabled motorist.

To call attention to Connecticut’s Slow Down, Move Over, AAA Northeast last year embarked on an educational campaign, which included public service announcements, urging drivers to comply with the law.

Connecticut’s Move Over law was passed in 2009 to protect drivers of emergency vehicles, who assist disabled motorists on state roads. Fines range up to $2,500 if injuries are caused; and up to $10,000 if deaths result.