Washington drivers are well aware of the risks associated with winter driving. But all too often, they must be remembered of certain rules. Mostly because, as the winter makes roads across the Evergreen state more dangerous, more emergency vehicles are being called to the scenes of crashes. And as emergency personnel works tirelessly to help stranded drivers and riders, they are exposed to crash risks.
According to a series of news reports, at least 29 Washington State Patrol vehicles have been involved in accidents while conducting traffic stops in 2016. These incidents happened while law enforcement agents were helping Washington drivers, and as locals struggle to handle the weather, they seem to also struggle with following the Move Over law.
The last 2016 incident happened on New Year’s Day, when a WSP patrol car was struck as the officer investigated a crash on I-5. Thankfully, the trooper wasn’t injured, but the driver involved crashed into the back of the patrol car, experiencing injuries as a result. He was eventually arrested for suspicion of DUI.
Due to this reality, WSP officials and others are urging drivers to pay attention to the road.
According to the Move Over law, RCW 46.61.212, drivers who are approaching an emergency zone must either move to the next lane over in the same direction or slow down if he or she is unable to move over safely. Unfortunately, many drivers ignore these rules, driving by emergency vehicles at high rates of speed and, at times, acting entirely oblivious of the presence of a parked emergency vehicle.
Emergency vehicles may include police, medical, fire, tow trucks, or any vehicle providing assistance to stranded or injured drivers while making use of hazard lights.
In 2014, the WSP reported, at least 4,000 people were pulled over for violating the Move Over law. We hope that in 2017, this reality will change, with more people focusing on the road and what is going on ahead. But to put an end to the risks associated with ignoring stopped vehicles, drivers need to be more alert.
For more on how to avoid accidents by following the Move Over law, follow this link or watch the video below.