Nearly four times more roadside workers are struck and killed than the figure reported, according to a new study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Researchers from the organization combed through diverse information sources and uncovered 123 roadside assistance providers killed by passing vehicles between 2015 and 2021.

The AAA Foundation said the grim figure dwarfs the approximate 34 noted in national crash data and put the discrepancy down to police crash report forms often recording roadside assistance providers as pedestrians.

“Understanding the circumstances and causes for fatal crashes involving roadside workers is vital if we are serious about saving lives,” said Dr David Yang, president and executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

“Many of these crashes can be avoided if drivers focus on driving and observe the law by slowing down and moving over when they see roadside assistance providers performing their duties.”

The AAA is urging action including:

  • Reinforcing the ‘slow down, move over’ law
  • Utilizing countermeasures to prevent vehicles from striking workers. The Foundation previously examined vehicle-mounted electronic variable message signs and found them effective at alerting drivers to slow down and move over.
  • Teaching roadside workers to prioritize work away from traffic and equip them with strategies to avoid harm’s way.