Shoulder lanes are emergency stopping lanes that are reserved by the verge of a road and on the right side of the road. Shoulder lanes are typically not used by moving traffic, but instead used in the event of an emergency, such as a vehicle malfunctioning or becoming disabled. In some cases, tow providers may be en route to assist a driver of a disabled vehicle, or working on moving a disabled vehicle from the shoulder. Shoulder lanes also may be used by emergency vehicles, such as an ambulance or police cars, in order to bypass traffic. However, in some unfortunate incidents, shoulder lanes may become the scene of accidents.
According to a recent news report, a 22-year-old was fatally struck by a vehicle on I-95 in Maryland. A vehicle drove on the right side of the shoulder and struck a pedestrian who was outside of their tractor-trailer on the shoulder. The vehicle was disabled and parked on the shoulder with hazard lights on. It is unclear what caused the driver to travel out of lane three onto the shoulder.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety data found that among drivers who do not comply with Move Over laws at all times, 42 percent thought the behavior was somewhat or not dangerous at all to roadside emergency workers. In some instances, these shoulder lane accidents may occur because of distracted driving.