BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Killed on the job. Police say it’s happening to too many emergency responders, despite a law in place to protect them.
As Weijia Jiang reports, they say the problem is many people don’t know the rules of the road.
The Maryland “Move Over” law went into effect in October 2010, but now, a year and a half later, police say the problem is too many people don’t know that.
In January, a state trooper was sideswiped by a car in the next lane during an I-83 traffic stop. Last June, a Baltimore City police officer was nearly killed when a car slammed into her along the JFX. The impact pushed her body 25 feet over a wall. The danger to emergency vehicles on the side of the road is so familiar, drivers are required by law to act.
“The law requires motorists to literally move over or slow down to provide an extra barrier or safety for officers, firefighters and emergency rescue personnel,” said Marcus Brown, Maryland State Police.
But many Maryland drivers WJZ found have never heard of the law, so they don’t obey it.
“What’s the Move Over law?” said one.
“I would guess it’s maybe about biking?” said another.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what that is,” said a third.
That’s why Maryland State Police launched a campaign to boost awareness. On Wednesday, the agency unveiled a new decal that will remind drivers to protect responders.
“There’s no equipment strong enough to protect them from passing vehicles that weigh thousands of pounds. Highway drivers do not realize the risk they post to law enforcement,” said Brown.
If you don’t move over and an accident results, the fine is $150 and three points on your license. If there’s no accident, you’ll pay $110 and get one point.
Starting Wednesday, these decals will start showing up on emergency vehicles across the state and police are asking drivers to spread the word.
In the past two years, 25 law enforcement officers were struck and killed nationwide.