Move Over/Slow Down is a Great Idea
Ever year around this time, a national campaign known as the "National Work Zone Awareness Week" takes place. The goal is to heighten public understanding of the dangers posed to workers and police officers at roadway work areas. Nearly 1,000 people are killed every year in work zones accidents. Despite orange cones and seemingly high visibility, it only takes a momentary lapse of attention or spatial misjudgment by a speeding driver to strike a worker on the side of the highway. Massachusetts just enacted, with great fanfare, a "move over/slow down" law, requiring drivers approaching work crews or police officers on the side of the highway, to shift lanes to the right or if unable to do so, to slow down. My empirical study during the first two weeks of the law showed that nearly all drivers were attempting to comply. We'll see what happens after the impact of the publicity campaign wears off. Troopers in Western Massachusetts are enforcing the law as best they can. It's a good law. It will save lives and with luck, will become habit over time for all drivers.