Vision Zero partners stress law protecting roadside workers


As part of the Vision Zero strategy, agencies across North Dakota are joining together to stress the need for motorists to slow down and move over for emergency vehicles. Since November 2019, three North Dakota Highway Patrol vehicles have been hit by drivers who did not follow the Move Over law.

The North Dakota Department of Transportation, Highway Patrol, Department of Health and AAA-The Auto Club Group are joining in the effort to educate drivers on the Move Over law. Outreach efforts will take place now through January 31, but officials ask for assistance in spreading the word year-round.

In North Dakota, the law requires drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, including wreckers and highway maintenance vehicles, to vacate the lane closest if safe and possible to do so, or slow to a speed safe for road conditions. The fine for not doing so is $50, plus two points assessed to your driver’s license.

AAA, an organization in the business of rescuing millions of stranded motorists across the country each year, says that 71% of Americans are unaware of the Move Over law and about 23 roadside workers and first responders lose their life at the roadside each year. Hundreds more are injured while assisting motorists. In this video, a patrol vehicle was struck twice within about a minute of each other.

To protect roadside workers and improve highway safety, Vision Zero offers these precautionary tips:

  • Always remain alert. Avoid distractions and focus on the task of driving.
  • Maintain a visual lead of everything going on 20 to 30 seconds ahead of you. This gives you time to see problems ahead and change lanes and speed accordingly.
  • Emergencies can occur anywhere on the road. When you see flashing lights, slow down and prepare well in advance to change lanes. Allow others to merge into your lane when necessary.
  • Don’t follow semi-trucks or other large vehicles too closely. If a truck moves into a left-hand lane, don’t speed around the right side. They are changing lanes for a reason; be prepared to change lanes yourself.
  • In slippery conditions don’t make sudden lane changes, which can cause an uncontrollable skid. Change lanes early and move over gradually.
  • If you are unable to move over, slow down to a safe speed taking into consideration that you are approaching a workspace where pedestrians are present.

For more information on the Move Over Law, visit Learn more about the Vision Zero strategy and its traffic safety campaigns at