AAA: Oklahoma drivers do not fully understand danger to road workers
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – AAA officials are calling on Oklahoma drivers to pay more attention to roadside workers when slowing down and moving.
The request comes after two AAA highway technicians and an Oklahoma tow truck driver have been killed in the past three months.
A recently published AAA study shows that Oklahoma drivers often do not fully understand the danger they pose to road workers, according to AAA officials.
“The deaths of two AAA drivers killed this year as well as dozens of other first responders – one in Oklahoma – working by the roadside make this result particularly alarming,” AAA officials said.
A first responder is killed while working by the side of the road, on average, every two weeks, somewhere in the United States, according to AAA.
Fourteen towing suppliers have died this year, as of August, while providing roadside assistance. An average of 24 emergency responders, including towing service providers, are killed by vehicles while providing roadside assistance to motorists each year.
âAs drivers, we all share responsibility for ensuring the safety of road workers. By being careful, slowing down and moving away from the side of the road where work is taking place, we allow those who work to do it safely, âsaid Tom Wiedemann, President and CEO, AAA Club Alliance. âAAA is committed to raising public awareness of this critical issue which continues to tragically kill first responders and motorists with disabilities. “
AAA officials ask motorists to do the following when driving to protect people by the roadside:
- Stay alert, avoid distractions, and focus on the task of driving.
- Keep an eye out for situations where emergency vehicles, tow trucks, utility service vehicles, or disabled vehicles are stopped by the side of the road.
- When you see these situations, slow down and, if possible, move one lane to get away from people and vehicles stopped at the side of the road.
Travel laws have been passed in all 50 states across the country, as well as the District of Columbia, to protect road workers.
The Oklahoma Travel Law (47-11-314, page 391) requires all drivers to reduce their speed and travel on a safe lane when approaching an emergency vehicle , tow truck, municipal vehicle or road maintenance vehicle with flashing lights – or any disabled motorist – traveling slowly or having stopped along the shoulder or side of the road AAA officials said.
However, a new AAA poll shows that a third (31%) of Oklahoma residents said they weren’t sure about the Move Over law or thought there was no Move Over law. .
Researchers from the AAA Foundation for Road Safety have obtained the following information on drivers who do not comply with the Move Over laws at all times:
- 42% thought that this behavior was somewhat dangerous or not at all dangerous for road rescuers. This demonstrates that drivers may not realize how risky it is for those who work or are stranded along highways and roads closed to traffic.
- Almost a quarter of those surveyed (23%) are unaware of the Move Over law in the state where they live.
- Of those who are aware of their state’s Move Over laws, about 15% say they do not understand the potential consequences of violating the Move Over law at all.
AAA officials are also asking drivers to slow down and move for motorists on roadsides with broken down vehicles.
More than 1,600 people, since 2015, have been struck and killed while outside a broken down vehicle.
âIt’s not just a law. They are drivers who are attentive and attentive to others, because it is literally a matter of life and death, âexplains Jason Cravens, responsible for the AAA fleet. âDon’t just slow down to watch. Slow down and go forward.
Drivers are increasingly distracted while driving, according to a study by the AAA Foundation, which shows that drivers are up to four times more likely to crash if they talk on a cell phone while driving and up. ‘to eight times more likely to crash if they text.
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