Law protects roadside workers

Published 11:05 pm Thursday, September 6, 2007

I’d like to take a moment to remind everyone of the new law that went into effect July 1 of this year that states when you’re approaching an emergency vehicle, recovery vehicle (tow truck), or maintenance vehicle on the side of the road you are to move over to the lane farthest from that vehicle or, if you can’t move over, slowdown and be prepared to stop.

This law was put into place to protect the people that have to work along our roadways daily from being struck by passing motorist. Recently, my department, the Mississippi Department of Transportation, had an officer struck during a routine traffic stop. Luckly it was only a grazing blow and he survived. He’s currently undergoing medical treatment for nerve damage that may require surgery. It was bad, but it could have been much worse.

Each day I’m out there patrolling our highways and conducting traffic stops I have entirely too many vehicles miss me by sometimes only a foot while I’m trying to do my job. These vehicles do not slow down, nor move over into the empty lane next to them to avoid me. I find it hard to understand why anyone would be that discourteous to the people trying to protect our highways. Currently, we’ve been holding off writing tickets for this because we’d like to allow everyone ample time to learn of this law, but soon will be given the go-ahead to begin. I’d rather return home after a long day at work than write someone a ticket for this, so please try to keep this in mind when traveling our highways in the future.

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Sgt. Daryl Walker

Mississippi Department of Transportatio