Move Over campaign in effect through Aug. 15

Published 5:43 pm Monday, August 7, 2023

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In an effort to protect those who protect us, Kentuckians are urged to slow down and move over if safely possible when passing emergency vehicles that are parked on the side of the road.

To raise awareness of the state’s “Move Over” law, the Kentucky Office of Highway Safety is joining the Kentucky State Police to promote the “Slow Down and Move Over” message now through Aug. 15.

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“Every day on our roadways, emergency responders and public safety personnel put their lives at risk to protect the citizens of the Commonwealth, and it’s important to do what we can go to support them in return,” said Gov. Andy Beshear, who has said he considers highway safety a top administration priority.  “Please slow down and move over to help keep these dedicated heroes safe as they work to protect the lives of Kentuckians.”

Kentucky passed its Move Over law in 2003 requiring drivers to move over to the adjacent lane when approaching an emergency vehicle or public safety vehicle with flashing lights.  If changing lanes is impossible or unsafe, drivers must then slow down and use caution.  Failure to do so can result in fines, jail time, or both.  All 50 states have similar laws.

“Our goal is to create a safe and equitable transportation system for all Kentuckians, including our first responders.” said Transportation Cabinet Secretary Jim Gray. “While some drivers may believe that moving over is just a courtesy, it is not, it’s the law.”

The law protects all first responders, including law enforcement, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, safety service patrols and towing vehicles.

“Imagine trying to do your job as vehicles fly past you at alarming speeds,” said KSP Captain Paul Blanton. “Think about it the next time you see those flashing lights ahead.”

Unfortunately, first responders are killed every year by drivers who fail to move over.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Association, 149 law enforcement officers, just one category of first responder, have been killed in traffic-related incidents since 2017.

“We’re used to working in dangerous situations; however, our risk increases when a vehicle speeds past us,” Blanton noted.  “Giving first responders the space we need allows us to perform our job safely and effectively.”