Disabled vehicles on the side of the road are vulnerable to several car accident dangers from oncoming traffic. Passing vehicles often collide with them, especially when drivers engage in distractions. Additionally, vehicles traveling at highway speeds have less time to react to unexpected obstacles, including disabled vehicles on the road shoulder.
To address this issue, Maine Senator Joe Baldacci recently joined forces with the Maine State Police, AAA Northern New England leaders, and other officials at a recent press conference. The focus of the event was to discuss a new law aimed at enhancing roadside safety. This law mandates that all drivers must move over for any vehicle that appears to be disabled on the roadside.
Expanding the slow-down and move-over law
The new legislation, which is now in effect, represents a significant expansion of Maine's existing slow-down and move-over law. The bipartisan effort broadens the language to include all vehicles on the roadside, not just first responders and emergency vehicles. This comprehensive approach addresses the safety of a wider range of road users.
Addressing a critical safety concern regarding disabled vehicles
Statistics from AAA highlight the urgency of this law. An average of 60 emergency responders, including tow truck providers, are struck and killed annually in the U.S. while working roadside. Moreover, nearly one person is killed each day while waiting beside their disabled vehicle. Mike Nadeau, Director of Towing and Recovery Association of Maine, emphasizes the severity, noting the frequent fatalities among tow truck drivers.
Senator Baldacci strongly advocates for the legislation, acknowledging the daily risks faced by police, first responders, and emergency roadside crews in Maine. Lieutenant Michael Johnston of the Maine State Police also endorsed this legislation, recounting the dangers and close calls experienced by troopers during roadside operations. He emphasizes that operating on highways is one of the most hazardous aspects of their job.
Raising public awareness around dangers posed to disabled vehicles
Pat Moody, Director of Public Affairs at AAA Northern New England, points out that 'near misses' are common. He recalls a recent incident where a tow truck and provider were almost hit. The University of Maine Volunteer Ambulance Corps has introduced the HAAS alert system, which notifies drivers using navigation apps of nearby responding ambulances. It also urges them to slow down and move over.
Moody emphasizes the need for drivers to take personal responsibility for road safety. He advocates for compliance with the law and heightened awareness while driving. Lieutenant Johnston echoes this sentiment, urging drivers to follow the law and stay alert. This helps ensure the safety of emergency teams, roadside individuals, other drivers, and themselves.
Injured in a crash? Contact a Maine car accident lawyer
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash, get an experienced Maine car accident attorney on your side to advocate for the justice and financial compensation you deserve. The legal team at Jabar LaLiberty, LLC knows how to investigate collisions and find the facts that matter. We'll work to build a strong case on your behalf and fight to hold the negligent party accountable for your losses. To get started, contact us online and schedule your free consultation. You can also call our law offices in Waterville and Portland.