Gov. Edwards celebrates Traffic Incident Management Awareness Week by highlighting Move Over law
Monday, November 14, 2016 at 12:47:45 PM
BATON ROUGE—Gov. John Bel Edwards, along with the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Louisiana State Police, hosted a press conference today at the State Capitol to recognize Traffic Incident Management Awareness Week by discussing the importance of motorists obeying the “Move Over” law when approaching emergency or police vehicles on the shoulder of the highway.

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is highlighting Traffic Incident Management Awareness Week from Nov. 14-21. The goal of this week is to remind drivers of the dangers emergency responders face when they are responding to incidents and to remind responders to be vigilant of emergency responders on Louisiana’s highways.

“As a son and family member of long-time law enforcement family, I know first-hand what it means to have public officials work on our roadways to keep you and I safe, even when that means putting their own safety on the line,” Gov. Edwards said. “You could prevent someone from getting hurt or even killed by moving over into the next lane and giving those on the shoulder room to operate and do their jobs safely.”

“There are often times when responders are out of their vehicles picking up tires, picking up trash, clearing the roads or putting out safety cones. I’d like to remind all our drivers to please move over,” DOTD Sec. Shawn Wilson said. “We want you to be safe, and we want our employees to be safe too, because they provide a service for all of us. Please move over. It’s about safety --yours and ours.”

“Far too often across this country and around this state, tragedy occurs when emergency personnel and roadside workers are struck when drivers fail to move over and provide a safe working environment on our highways,” said Colonel Mike Edmonson, Louisiana State Police Superintendent. “Especially in today’s modern world which is full of distractions, it is everyone’s responsibility to stay alert, and to move over whenever you see emergency vehicles or vehicles with emergency flashers on stopped on the highway. It is my wish that slowing down and moving over becomes a habit for every driver. So please, always drive safely, and remember to move over. It’s not just the law, it’s the right thing to do.”

Sterlington Police Chief Barry Bonner knows too well the dangers associated with working on the road.

“The early morning hours of July 3rd 2016 changed the lives of many in the Town of Sterlington as well as people across the state and country,” Bonner said. “We lost Sgt. David Elahi to a senseless accident that could have been easily avoided if only the driver, who struck and killed David, would have used common sense and courtesy by moving over to the outside lane as he approached our Sgt. on a traffic stop. Not only did this individual dramatically alter the lives of David's family but he destroyed the lives of his own loved ones. We lost a good friend and officer that morning. David is greatly missed and will never be forgotten.”

Louisiana law (RS 32:125) states that motorists on a highway must make a lane change, if possible, when any emergency vehicle with flashing lights is stopped on the shoulder. If motorists cannot switch lanes, they are to slow down.

In Louisiana, DOTD, State Police and other emergency response agencies have lost members of their working family to accidents that may have been prevented had the driver been paying attention and moved mover. The Governor’s Office encourages motorists to help get that number to zero by looking out for emergency responders stopped on the side of the road when traveling.

According to Move Over America, a partnership founded in 2007 by the National Safety Commission, National Sheriffs' Association and National Association of Police Organizations, more than 200 law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways. Additionally, Move Over America’s website states that 71 percent of Americans have not heard of “Move Over” laws, but 90 percent believe traffic stops and roadside emergencies are dangerous for law enforcement and first responders. To learn more about what you can do to help keep emergency responders safe, visit for more information.