Earlier this summer, two Nevada Highway Patrol (NHP) troopers’ parked patrol car was slammed into at high speed on westbound I-80. Both troopers were on the side of the road working on another crash at the time. Neither one was injured. A month prior, a passenger vehicle crashed head-on into an NHP trooper’s parked car after crossing the median near Stagecoach on US 50. In this incident, the trooper was severely injured and the driver of the vehicle was tragically killed.
More Common Than You Think
While the two incidents above may seem like rare occasions of accidents with NHP troopers in late-night traffic, the opposite is actually true. In fact, along-roadside-accidents are one of the main causes of line of duty deaths for law enforcement officers across the country. The problem was so widespread that Nevada legislators created the “Move Over” law in 2003. This law requires drivers must slow down, proceed cautiously, and be prepared to move to the far lane if possible or come to a full stop when approaching an emergency vehicle that is stopped with its amber lights flashing.
In July of this year, Nevada’s Move Over Law was expanded to also cover Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) workers. Through this expansion of the law, drivers will now have to move over for NDOT vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road and flashing amber lights or non-flashing blue lights. In October of 2017, another change to the law will include requiring that drivers steer clear of any traffic accidents. This can include anything from debris on the road to a stalled vehicle.
The idea for move over laws first appeared in the late 1990s as a result of a tragic accident in South Carolina where a paramedic was struck and seriously injured at the scene of an accident to which the paramedic was responding. Currently all 50 states in the nation have some type of mover over law on the books. There is one exception; Washington, D.C. is the only area in the nation where there is no such law for emergency personnel and vehicles.
According to MoveOverAmerica.org, a recent survey found that 71% of Americans are unaware of their state’s move over laws. This is despite as much as 90% of those surveyed agreeing that roadside emergencies and traffic stops pose a danger for first responders and law enforcement officers.
Know The Law
It is vital that you are aware of the specific laws in your state, whether Move Over Laws or any other traffic law, and the fines and penalties that may be incurred if in violation. For more information, visit www.moveoverlaws.com. If you or someone you know has been involved in a traffic accident or has been injured in an accident due to another’s negligence, contact the knowledgeable Nevada personal injury lawyers at Lawyers Plus by calling (702) 912-4451 today to schedule your initial, free, consultation.
(image courtesy of Oscar Nilsson)