Death of Trooper Highlights “Move Over” Law
Durango’s Colorado State Patrol is emphasizing the state’s “Move Over” law in the wake of the deaths of two troopers in the line of duty.
The law requires drivers to move over and slow down when they are passing a still emergency vehicle.
As reported by the Durango Herald, 33-year-old trooper Jaimie Jursevics was hit by a driver who is believed to have been drunk in Castle Rock on November 25 while she was pulled over on Interstate 25 to investigate a call about a possible DUI in the area.
The young mother was pronounced dead at the scene.
On May 23, 21-year-old cadet Taylor Thyfault was struck by a car and killed while placing stop sticks near the scene of an accident on Highway 66 in Longmont.
A driver who was speeding away after a trooper attempted to pull him over for having blue headlights hit and killed Thyfault and injured another trooper as the two officers tried to secure an accident scene.
According to Trooper Aaron Robertus of Durango’s state patrol office, another five officers were hit and killed by vehicles in 2014.
This problem is also national, with the National Safety Commission (NSC) instituting a Move Over America campaign with the National Association of Police Organizations and the National Sheriffs’ Association to educate drivers about various state Move Over laws across the country.
According to the NSC, more than 150 officers have died after being hit by a vehicle on highways across the country since 1997.
The Move Over Law
Colorado enacted the Move Over law to help protect emergency personnel in 2005. The law requires drivers to move over completely if possible or at least slow down to a speed that is considered safe when passing a non-moving emergency vehicle that has its lights and/or sirens on.
The law covers law enforcement, tow truck, and Colorado Department of Transportation vehicles.
Drivers who fail to obey the law may receive four points on their license and a minimum $169.50 fine if their failure results in an accident.
Fines are doubled in work zones and safe zones, which are areas that have been roped off by law enforcement, such as accident scenes.
According to Robertus, a driver’s average perception-reaction time is around 1.6 seconds. This means a car moving at 60 mph will go 140.16 feet further before brakes are applied.
The trooper also asked that drivers limit distractions while driving, such as talking on a cell phone or eating, to help make the roads safer for emergency personnel and the community that depends on their assistance.
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