Nearly every week somewhere in the U.S., a police officer on a traffic stop is struck by another vehicle – often fatally, says USA Today. Since 1997, more than 150 law enforcement officers have been hit and killed by motorists. All but 10 states have traffic laws requiring drivers either to move over into another lane or slow down when approaching officers on a roadside. Most drivers aren’t aware of “move over” laws or think they apply to moving over for approaching emergency vehicles.
The National Safety Commission, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the National Association of Police Organizations have launched a public education campaign to press the point. “We discovered that while these laws are in effect in 80 percent of the states, 70 percent of the nation’s motorists are completely unaware that they exist,” said National Safety Commission President Ken Underwood, citing a poll sponsored by the group, which runs online traffic safety courses. Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Terrence Sheridan last month halted the longstanding practice of troopers’ stepping out of their cars to wave down and stop speeders on interstate highways.