BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland law requires that drivers move over for vehicles providing roadside assistance or slow down if it is not safe to change lanes, but an overwhelming majority of first responders say motorists are not following the rule, according to a new survey released by AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Almost 75% of respondents in Maryland, a group that includes police, emergency medical services personnel, tow truck drivers and roadside workers, said drivers do not move over or slow down for people working on the side of the road.

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More than 90% said they have nearly been hit by a vehicle or had their life threatened because a driver failed to move over. As a result, 65% of first responders said they do not feel safe even with the law in place.

Maryland drivers don’t seem to know there’s a problem. According to a survey AAA Mid-Atlantic released last month, 90% of drivers said they follow the law.

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State officials and representatives from AAA gathered at an I-95 rest stop in Laurel on Thursday to mark the anniversary of the law and remind motorists to move over or slowdown for first responders on the side of the road.

“The men and women who work every day along our roadways – law enforcement officers, emergency responders and highway crews – are there to serve the public and are often performing their duties within inches of fast-moving traffic,” Maryland Department of Transportation Secretary Greg Slater said. “As we work together to eliminate excessive speed and distracted, impaired and aggressive driving, we must also remember our responsibility as motorists to move over and slow down for emergency vehicles and work crews.”

The law, first enacted in 2010, required drivers to move over or slow down for law enforcement, emergency responders and state highway crews. In 2014, it was expanded to include tow trucks. Four years later, waste and recycling trucks and other service vehicles were added.

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Between 2014 and 2019, 53 people were killed and more than 4,000 people were injured in work zone crashes in Maryland, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation.

CBS Baltimore Staff