An astounding 60% of roadside workers say they’ve experienced a near-hit, and an astonishing 15% have been hit by a passing vehicle, according to a AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety study.
In the wake of Thursday’s Cromwell crash where a firefighter and state police officer were injured, the release of the Foundation’s latest research is timely, said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. Another state police officer was injured by a passing motorist earlier that morning in a separate Route 15 crash in Hamden.
— an announcement from AAA Northeast
The latest AAA research also reports certain roadside measures, including the use of truck-mounted electronic message signs, could induce drivers to comply with Move Over laws.
“Helping stranded motorists on the side of the road shouldn’t be one of America’s most lethal jobs,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “But it is.”
In the study, Foundation researchers staged a flatbed and disabled car in Trumbull and used footage from real incidents to examine the effectiveness of various safety measures on driving behavior. Among the findings:
Electronic truck-mounted message signs can induce drivers to move over when roadside workers are assisting disabled motorists. In fact, the odds of a vehicle moving over were 95% higher when the signs were in use.
Cones, flares, and emergency flashing light patterns on the responding trucks or flatbeds had a positive impact on driver behavior and led to significant lane shifts by drivers in most circumstances.
Drivers who made lane changes, tended to reduce their speeds while those who didn’t move over to an adjacent lane were also less likely to slow down.
“AAA is sharing its findings with other industries and traffic safety advocates impacted by Move Over laws,” Mayko said. “At the same time, we continue to educate drivers about the need to obey Move Over laws because doing so saves lives.”
All 50 states, including Connecticut, have Move Over laws that require drivers to slow down and, if possible, move over to adjacent lanes when emergency responders are assisting disabled motorists along roadways.