AUGUSTA — One of the most dangerous parts of an emergency responders’ job is stepping out on the side of the road, whether it is for a traffic stop, to assist a motorist or to investigate a crash. The Bureau of Highway Safety wants to remind drivers to put safety first.
To protect those who protect us, every state has “Move Over” laws, requiring drivers to move over and slow down when approaching stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights activated.
In recent weeks, emergency responders in Maine have reported seeing an increase in drivers failing to move over and slow down.
Maine state troopers have experienced several close calls, including one driver who crashed his vehicle into a cruiser that was on the side of the turnpike with its emergency light on. The trooper, who was assisting a motorist, fortunately was not in his cruiser at the time of the crash.
A volunteer firefighter was hit by a car while crews were extinguishing a vehicle fire in Washington County. That firefighter is hospitalized with serious injuries.
Traffic-related incidents continue to be one of the leading causes of death among on-duty law enforcement officers.
Drivers can help keep emergency responders safe by knowing the law and following it: When you see flashing lights, slow down and, if possible, move over to an adjacent lane that’s not next to the emergency vehicle.
Failing to follow this law puts people at unnecessary risk. It also carries a minimum $250 fine.