Insights from GAO on Enhancing Awareness of Move Over Laws

Insights from GAO on Enhancing Awareness of Move Over Laws

Apr 28, 2024

 When it comes to road safety, knowledge is power.  

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a comprehensive report last month shedding light on the state of Move Over Laws across the United States. These laws, present in all fifty states and the District of Columbia, mandate specific actions for drivers when approaching vehicles stopped on the roadside with flashing warning lights. The aim is to protect vulnerable roadside workers and mitigate risks posed by passing vehicles.

Move Over laws vary from state to state, encompassing a range of vehicle types beyond just first responders. These include fleet vehicles operated by highway construction crews, utility workers, waste management workers and/or disabled passenger vehicles. 

States employ diverse strategies to promote their Move Over laws, including public awareness events, social media campaigns, targeted law enforcement initiatives, and road signs. However, challenges persist. There are limited resources for safety awareness campaigns, leaving road users at-risk and searching for enhanced solutions.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) plays a crucial role in supporting states' efforts to promote Move Over laws by providing funding, conducting research, and developing public awareness materials. 

However, the GAO report highlights a gap: NHTSA's materials predominantly focus on first responders, overlooking the broader scope of vehicles covered by state-specific Move Over laws. In it’s report, GAO recommended that NHTSA update its public awareness materials on states' Move Over laws to accurately portray the range of vehicles covered by these laws, such as tow operators, highway construction, disabled passenger vehicles, and utilities workers. 

The findings underscore the importance of comprehensive and uniform promotion of Move Over laws nationwide. As roadside incidents continue to pose significant risks to road users, prioritizing awareness and adherence to these laws is crucial. Over time, federal and state policymakers have recognized that move-over enforcement and educational campaigns yield greater effectiveness when complemented with preventative measures in the field, including collision prevention technology. It remains evident that despite these educational efforts, move-over laws continue to be violated at alarming rates. The challenge still lies in bridging the gap between awareness and actual compliance on the roads.

As HAAS CEO Cory aptly stated, “enforcement and education aren't the same as prevention…” 

At HAAS Alert, we believe digital alerts are a critically needed and highly effective tool for notifying motorists of a stationary vehicle on the road ahead. This ensures that drivers have plenty of time to slow down and move over.

As a champion of safer roads for all, HAAS Alert stands in solidarity with the call for aligning federal resources with state-specific laws and leveraging targeted educational campaigns to keep roadway users safe.