December 23, 2014 | Washington, DC
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Contact: Kathryn Henry, 202-366-9550, Public.Affairs@dot.gov
Agency Also Highlights 'Move Over' Laws That Protect Law Enforcement, EMS
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging Americans to protect themselves this busy holiday travel season due to an increase in highway fatalities and injuries this time of the year. In addition to urging everyone to drive belted, sober and focused, NHTSA is also encouraging people to become familiar with and obey the “Move Over” laws that require motorists to change lanes away from public safety vehicles on roadsides to help protect public safety personnel.
“Move Over” laws ensure that law enforcement officials have the space to work safely when they’re pulled over on the side of the road. Preliminary data compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund shows that three law enforcement officers were struck and killed this year as a result of motorists not moving over. Over the past decade, being struck by a vehicle is the 4th-leading cause of death of law enforcement officials.
This time of year is particularly poignant in observing move over laws. Last week NHTSA launched its annual national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over holiday crackdown on drunk drivers, and with thousands of law enforcement officials out protecting motorists from drunk drivers, today we’re asking motorists to return the favor and drive safely, sober, and to move over when they see law enforcement assisting motorists on the side of the road – the law in all 50 states.
Last December, 733 people died in drunk driving crashes. While on the road traveling this December, be aware that drunk driving crashes claim a victim who was not a drunk driver every two and a half hours. There were 10,076 alcohol-impaired crash fatalities in 2013, accounting for 31% of the overall fatalities.
To help travelers stay safe, NHTSA recommends the following precautions:
Don't drink and drive: Drunk Driving is one of the deadliest and most frequent crimes committed. Every 52 minutes, someone is killed in a drunk driving crash. Be responsible and don't drink and drive. If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver before going out. On November 16, NHTSA announced a new mobile app designed to help people who have been drinking get a safe ride home.
Buckle seat belts: All drivers and passengers should wear seat belts every time when traveling in a vehicle. Research has found that lap/shoulder seat belts, when used, reduce the risk of fatal injury to front-seat passenger car occupants by 45 percent and the risk of moderate-to-critical injury by 50 percent.
Protect child passengers: Research on the effectiveness of child safety seats has found them to reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants (younger than 1 year old) and by 54 percent for toddlers (1 to 4 years old) in passenger cars. If you're traveling with children, remember the best way to protect them in the car is to put them in the correct child safety seat for their size and age. All children 13 and younger should ride in the back seat.
Avoid distraction: In 2012, 10 percent of fatal crashes and 18 percent of injury crashes were distraction-related. Distracted driving can be anything that pulls your attention away from driving, including cell phone use, texting while driving, eating, drinking, and using in-vehicle technologies and portable electronic devices.
View more information on NHTSA’s new “Move Over” campaign. The campaign is part of a comprehensive effort by NHTSA and several partner organizations to increase the safety of our law enforcement officers while they are stopped on our roadways.