Move Over Month in Virginia Highlights Danger to First Responders

We read on a regular basis about injuries to Virginia State Police troopers or fire or ambulance personnel. We have also represented tow truck workers who have been badly injured.

Often when they are helping out at an accident scene, other drivers fail to slow down or give them the space they need. The results can be devastating.

This month Virginia is highlighting the dangers with a series of billboards across the Commonwealth that read KEEP THEM SAFE.

It’s an important message and one that’s particularly relevant in Hampton Roads which has seen a spate of accidents in construction zones. A major $122 million widening project is underway on I-64 in Newport News. It has already been the scene of fatal wrecks.

The police, fire and rescue personnel and tow truck operators need all the space they can get.  The move over law says you should move left if you can if you see an emergency vehicle on the right side of the road. If you can’t safely move over, you should slow down.

June was designated as “Move Over Awareness Month” in 2014 by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

The month highlights the dangers faced by emergency workers. Nationwide the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) said 134 law enforcement personnel had been between 2005 and 2014 when they were struck by a vehicle while on-duty. 

And the NLEOMF reports 14 law enforcement officers have lost their lives in traffic-related incidents this year. 

The ads were unveiled earlier this month by in Hampton by Superintendent Col. W. Steven Flaherty of Virginia State Police who joined the City of Hampton Police, Fire and Rescue, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), AAA Tidewater and GB Towing and Auto Repair.

The ads will rotate on billboards along I-64, I-264, I-664 and U.S. Route 58 in Hampton Roads. Officials hope they will be seen by as many as half a million drivers.

If you see an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing on the highway, you should always exercise care. If you can’t move over safely, slow down. It’s the law and you could face a fine if you violate it. Read more about Virginia’s move over law here.

If you are a tow truck driver or a police officer who has been injured on duty, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the policy of the at-fault driver. Please call our Virginia auto accident lawyers at (757) 455-0077.

Bill O'Mara

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