Two senators and a state representative from Illinois have introduced a bill that aims to increase awareness of Move Over laws and encourage police fleets to install safety technology to further promote officer safety along the side of the road. U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth and U.S. Representative Cheri Bustos introduced the Protecting Roadside First Responders Act, which allows states to apply for grant funding to increase public awareness of Move Over laws, which require motorists to keep the right lane clear if an emergency vehicle is parked along the side of the road.
To support awareness of Move Over laws, the bill aims to equip law enforcement vehicles with digital alert technology, which sends real-time warnings to motorists using navigation apps when they are approaching an emergency responder vehicle. Deploying this technology only requires a small, inexpensive transponder to be added to emergency vehicles.
The Protecting Roadside First Responders Act also:
- requires all federal fleet vehicles to have crash avoidance technology —including automatic emergency braking, forward collision warnings, and land departure warnings — within five years
- requires all federal fleet vehicles used for emergency response activities to be equipped with digital alert technology within five years
- requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to promulgate rules mandating crash avoidance technology on all new motor vehicles
- requires research on the efficacy of Move Over laws and related public awareness campaigns as well as recommendations on how to improve these efforts to prevent roadside deaths.
The bill was introduced by lawmakers from Illinois. As of April 2019, 17 Illinois State Police squad cars were struck as a result of drivers failing to move over. Several suffered serious injuries, and three of these incidents were fatal.