July 03, 2019

Duckworth, Durbin, Fischer & Bustos Call for GAO Review of “Move Over” Laws to Better Protect First Responders


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senators Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Deb Fischer (R-NE), along with U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos (IL-17), today called on the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a review of our country’s “Move Over” laws, which are designed to prevent motor accidents involving first responders stopped alongside busy roads. Three Illinois State Police troopers have been killed already after being struck by vehicles this year: Troopers Gerald Ellis, Brooke Jones-Story and Christopher Lambert.

“According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, traffic-related incidents continue to be one of the leading causes of death among on-duty law enforcement officers,” the Members of Congress wrote. “Since 2009, more than 122 law enforcement officers have been struck by vehicles and killed while they were stopped along highways.”

“‘Move Over’ laws are designed to protect emergency responders, workers and others who are stopped on the side of the road by requiring motorists to shift lanes and/or slow down,” they continued. “However, States continue to report numerous incidents of drivers failing to move over and crashing into emergency responders and others.”

The Members of Congress asked the GAO to review the effectiveness of current laws, the challenges states face in implementing these laws and how the federal government can help states educate the public to avoid these preventable tragedies.

Duckworth has been a strong advocate of transportation safety across the country. Last year, she introduced the School Bus Safety Act along with Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) to keep students safe and prevent accidents involving school buses. Earlier this year, Duckworth secured commitments from top transportation officials and stakeholders to address important train safety and performance issues.

A full copy of the letter is available online here.