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Sep 2, 2013 4:06 PM by Maddie Garrett

Dangers on the Job, Drivers Fail to Move Over for Emergency Vehicles

It's become clear that many drivers don't know about Colorado's Move Over Law. That became evident last week when two State troopers were hit on the job. So News 5 hit the road with State Patrol to demonstrate the hazards of the job.

Trooper Jim Schmidt sat on the shoulder of I-25 with lights flashing, a vehicle is pulled over in front of him. He watches car after car zoom past us.

"Didn't slow down, and is right in the right lane, nobody around them at all," commented Schmidt.

He eventually gets behind one of those vehicles and pulls them over. He told the driver, "The reason you're being stopped this morning is failure to yield to a stationary emergency vehicle, you're required by law to move over one lane for our safety."

After writing the driver a warning he gets back into his State Patrol car.

"He didn't have any idea why he was being stopped," said Schmidt.

The drivers Trooper Schmidt pulled over weren't the only ones who knew nothing about the Move Over Law. News 5 asked half a dozen people if they knew about the law, and all but one did not. However, once they were informed about how the Move Over Law works, all agreed it was the right thing to do.

"I just assumed that's what everyone should do," said David Ballard, who did not know about the Colorado law.

"I think it's important to give anyone like that space and be courteous," said Clayton Putman, a driver who did know about the law.

One driver, Roberto Martinez, questioned even needing the Move Over Law on the books, "Why would you make a law for that, isn't that common sense to move over."

That's what most people might think, but News 5 found just the opposite out on the road. While sitting in the State Patrol car with lights flashing, the Trooper out of the car and a vehicle pulled over, 44 out of 100 vehicles did not move over to the left lane or even slow down in the right lane.

Trooper Schmidt said many people aren't aware of the law, even though it's been on the books for five years now. Schmidt himself has had some close calls, and said there's also another reason people don't obey the law.

"(The driver) Told me he just wasn't paying attention and that close to possibly getting hurt," said Schmidt.

More often than no, emergency workers do get hurt.

"It's not a matter of if it's going to happen, it's a matter of when," said Schmidt.

The Move Over Law not only applies to law enforcement, but tow truck drivers, CDOT workers and ambulances. If you see their flashing lights on the side of the road, under the law you must move over one lane away. If you can't move over, then you're required to slow down significantly to a safe speed. Troopers said a good rule of thumb is to slow down 10 to 15 miles an hour below the posted speed limit.

 

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