The California Department of Transportation launched a new campaign on Monday to remind commuters to move over a lane or slow down to help keep roads safe for highway workers.
The Kids of Caltrans campaign was launched on Nov. 21 in partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) and the California Highway Patrol (CHP), featuring the children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews of Caltrans workers. The public awareness campaign comes on the heels of s on the heels of last week’s National Crash Responder Safety Week.
“Not a single person should die on our roadways – let alone in our work zones – so I urge you to do your part, pay attention, move over and save lives. Don’t let that split second of inattention destroy the lives of so many people… including your own.”
In California, the “Move Over” law requires all drivers to move over a lane if safe to do so, and if unable to do so safely, to slow down when they see amber flashing lights on Caltrans vehicles, law enforcement, and other emergency vehicles and tow trucks.
“Making a traffic or emergency stop on the side of the road is one of the most dangerous duties law enforcement officers and other first responders perform. Tragically, too many first responders and highway workers have been killed on the shoulder or median, and dozens more have been seriously injured. Please, move over or slow down when you see our officers and others working on the side of the freeway; not only is it the law, their lives depend on it,” said CHP Commissioner Amanda Aid.
According to CHP, nearly 7,000 work-zone crashes occured on California roadways in 2020, resulting in more than 3,000 injuries and nearly 100 fatalities. Nationally, drivers and passengers account for 85% of those killed in work zones.
Although all 50 states have enacted “Move Over” laws, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 71% of Americans are not aware of them. In California, failure to obey the “Move Over” law can result in fines up to $1,000, plus points on your driving record.
There have been 191 Caltrans employees have been killed on the job since 1921. According to Caltrans, one of the biggest hazards to them and anyone working on the roads is from motorists who do not exercise caution.
“Caltrans workers are mothers, fathers, grandparents, aunts, and uncles who have loved ones who need them to come home. For your safety, and the safety of all roadside workers and emergency responders, please be alert and slow down,” OTS Director Barbara Rooney said.
Video messages will appear throughout the state beginning January 2023, asking drivers to be alert, move over a lane if safe to do so, and pass highway workers safely. To view the campaign video, visit BeWorkZoneAlert.com.