Tomorrow is National Move Over Day. It's a push to highlight the importance of keeping police officers and paramedics safe when they are trying to do their jobs; and the deadly consequences of distracted driving.
The Omaha Police Department says it's an important message drivers need to hear. In Nebraska, drivers are required to move over to allow emergency vehicles to pass them or to allow space for ones that are stopped. But when it comes to drivers actually following that law, police say only about half do, and they want to see it happen every time.
“It's vitality important that people move over, get out of the way and give us room to work, it saves their lives, it saves my drivers' lives and it saves the other motorists and citizens' lives,” said Steve Rains, manager of Arrow Towing. He says every day, his drivers do their jobs in dangerous situations. It's a sight he calls all too common, drivers not moving over for stopped emergency vehicles. “They feel like there's not a good way to get moved over and they feel like they don't want to slow down because the guy behind them is gonna creep up on them and they just get nervous they are gonna cause damage to themselves,” said Rains.
Sergeant Tony Gutierrez with the Omaha Police Department sees it all too often, as well. “Everybody is a looky-loo and trying to see what's going on and unfortunately anybody with serious driver's training is wherever you look, naturally that's where the vehicle goes,” he said.
In Nebraska, drivers are required to move over one lane to the left on a road with two lanes or more, to make room for an emergency vehicle. “Maintain your safe speeds and move over when possible,” said Gutierrez. He says the most important thing to remember is that one driver's decision can affect countless others. It's a message Rains agrees with; and hopes drivers will remember whether it's a police cruiser, ambulance, or one of his tow truck drivers. Safety should always be top of mind. “If you don't keep people's focus on the things that can change lives then people get distracted and they forget about the real danger that is there if they don't move over,” said Rains.
A driver who breaks the move over law can be fined up to $100 for the first offense and can face seven days in jail and or a $500 fine for anything second offense and above.