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W. Michigan First Responders Partner To Promote "Move-Over" Law

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A number of West Michigan first responders are partnering to promote safety and the “move over” emergency vehicle caution law.  It’s part of National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week.

“This law is critical for first responders and trying to make things safer out on the freeways.”

That’s Lt. William Smith, Public Information Officer with the Grand Rapids Fire Department.  He, along with a large number of first responders from police and fire to emergency medical and tow truck representatives along with state transportation officials and AAA came together today.  They held a news conference to discuss the importance of adhering to Michigan’s emergency vehicle caution law, commonly referred to as the “move over” law.

“It’s critical that people have advance notice that there may be an accident ahead or there are emergency response workers in the roadway, taking care of business and responding to those who have had an accident.  Often times we find that if people aren’t in that heads-up mode, then there will be a secondary crash and often times, it’s unfortunate, but it will much more serious than the initial crash.”

Smith says secondary accidents can be avoided if motorists stay alert and make every effort to safely manage a traffic incident.

Grand Rapids and Wyoming have employed the use of utility vehicles, which are large dump trucks that have the ability to absorb a crash if someone is not paying attention.  The trucks are also able to direct traffic away from the scene of the crash. Smith says they encourage drivers to always be aware of what’s going on.

“If you see an accident, there’s an emergency scene, workers in the road, lights are on, slow down; take your foot off the pedal.  Pay attention to what’s going on. Move over if you can safely do so and try to bring your speed down to at least ten miles below the posted speed limit and if you can do any more than that we certainly appreciate it.”

Each year across the country, hundreds of emergency responders are struck and injured or killed while engaged in the performance of their duties. Smith says they’re hoping the move over law will help to keep first responders safe.