12-year-old sparks viral safety campaign after deadly trend on Illinois roadways

One Illinois 12-year-old took her viral social media campaign to the State Capital on Thursday.

The sixth grader, from rural Rio, Ill., started the Move Over Project after noticing a dangerous trend on Illinois roadways.

The project is designed to raise awareness of roadway workers just like her dad, who is a state trooper.

 “I'm so thankful for him and what he does for our family,” said Lucy Kuelper, found of the Move Over Project.

Kuelper might just be her dad John Kuelper’s biggest fan.

“He works our roadways, and I just want him to be safe,” Lucy said. 

Her concern for safety prompted her to take action after hearing about a dangerous trend. Three state troops have died on the job just this year and at least 14 more have been struck.

That’s more than all of last year.

“As a state police, state trooper, they're all your brothers and sisters, and they're all part of the ISP family,” John said. “And that hits home whether you know them personally or not.”

“Lucy had simply asked what she could do to help. And that's where this project started,” John said.

So together with help from her parents, Lucy started a Facebook page called the Move Over Project encouraging anyone who knows someone who works on the expressways and tollways to post their stories.

“I wanted to see the real faces and all the families behind the men and women who work our roadways,” Lucy said.

She’s hoping everyone follows Scott's Law, which mandates drivers to yield to emergency vehicles by slowing down, and changing lanes, if it's safe.

And her project is taking off with hundreds of pictures and nearly 20,000 likes.

“There's some of babies and dogs and husbands and wives,” Lucy said.

“Entire police departments, entire fire departments, entire cities,” John added.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin even took notice last week in Washington, D.C.

“I want to thank Lucy for her efforts in starting the Move Over Project,” Durbin said on the Senate floor.

“He said my name and we were standing in my kitchen and we were all crying because we were so happy,” Lucy said.

The Kuelper family says they're overwhelmed by the response in such a short amount of time.

“It just went way above our expectations. The response around the country now has been amazing. And she's inspiring a lot of people,” John said. “And she's only 12, but her impact is well beyond her years.”

“I just want him to be safe and him not getting hurt or anyone else not getting hurt,” Lucy said.