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First Responders Among Nearly 500 Killed on Roadways Since 2020

First responders, law enforcement officers, tow truck drivers and construction workers are all vulnerable on the roadways for a variety of reasons and subject to being hit and killed by distracted drivers.

A police vehicle
As if law enforcement officers and first responders’ jobs aren’t stressful enough from what they see and who they deal with, they are also extremely vulnerable to being killed on the roadways by distracted drivers.

Since 2020, 487 law enforcement officers, tow truck drivers and construction workers have been killed on the nation’s roadways by distracted drivers, according to a study done by The source of most of the distraction, according to first responders surveyed? Being on the phone.

Most of the first responders were killed during traffic stops, while responding to a disabled vehicle or a crash scene, or directing traffic. More than half of the workers killed last year were first responders — law enforcement officers, firefighters and tow truck drivers. During the first two months of 2024, 10 first responders were killed by vehicles.

All states have Move Over laws that require drivers to move to the side of the road or to a safe lane when an emergency vehicle is passing. The first state to enact a Move Over law was South Carolina in 1996; Hawaii was the last in 2012.

Oregon recorded the lowest rate of worker deaths from vehicle strikes per population from 2020 to 2023 with 0.4 deaths per 100,000. During the same period, Texas had the highest rate of first responders killed by vehicles, with 44 percent of the 50 workers killed by vehicles being first responders and 16 percent being law enforcement officers.