The Colorado Department of Transportation is promoting highway safety as outlined in the Strategic Highway Safety Plan. The agency motto is “Moving Toward Zero Deaths”, focused on reducing and eliminating traffic fatalities. One cause of highway accidents occurs when a service vehicle such as a police, emergency, or towing vehicle is parked along the highway. Passing motorists, traveling at a high rate of speed, must “move over” when possible and exercise caution to avoid a collision.
- A Maryland driver traveling along Route 140 approached a crash scene with police, fire and emergency medical personnel. A State Police vehicle was positioned to protect the scene and all vehicles had their emergency lights activated. The driver of a Chrysler 200 was determined to maintain his intention of exiting at Sandymount Road, although the crash scene partially obstructed the path. The driver swiftly navigated through the scene by passing through the median and collided with an ambulance as he fled the scene. Witnesses captured his license plate number, leading to his arrest shortly thereafter.
- In 2015 there were (11) TX state troopers hit by vehicles traveling past traffic stops despite the TXDOT's “Texas Move Over/Slow Down” laws and widely publicized awareness campaign. In September, Patrolman James Wright was fortunate to survived an incident where a careless driver was traveling directly toward him. Fortunately, he was able to move several feet to avoid direct impact and only sustained minor ankle damage and bruising. Texas is ticketing drivers up to $2,000 for failure to move lanes or reduce their speed to 20 MPH below the limit in these situations.
- In 2015, the Colorado State Patrol in Durango reported two recent deaths of troopers resulting from traffic stop collisions. Jaimie Jursevics and Taylor Thyfault represent two such fatalities along Interstate 25 in Castle Rock and Longmont.
Current Colorado Law
There are requirements for a driver operating a vehicle approaching a stationary emergency or towing vehicle along the roadway or side of the roadway. When there are multiple lanes on the same side, the passing driver should move into a further lane allowing a lane of separation. If another lane is unavailable, the driver should cautiously reduce and maintain a safe speed. The stationary vehicle(s) are to have a continuous visual signal activated including flashing or rotating lights that are white, yellow, red, or blue. This law also applies to drivers approaching vehicles applying chains to their tires. The Colorado Move Over Law has been in effect since 2005; penalties are up to a four-point violation and $169 fine, subject to increase if a crash occurs.
Contact a Denver Personal Injury Attorney
It is critical that motorists exercise caution when approaching highways traffic stops and accident scenes; failure to do so can initiate additional multi-vehicle accidents leading to further injuries and/or fatalities. The Law Office of Jeremy Rosenthal represents victims in Colorado auto accidents. Contact the office today for a free consultation.