Friday, March 13, 2009

Slow Down and Move Over... It's Not Only the Law, But It Saves Lives Too

Below is a letter to the editor to Loudoun County Traffic from Loudoun County Sheriff's Deputy Elissa Wilk. We appreciate Deputy Wilk's passion and appreciate the message. We encourage our readers to take a moment and read this letter, and more importantly, remember the message as you travel on Loudoun's roadways.
Earlier this year I lost my friend, a fellow law enforcement officer, in a tragic accident in Ohio. On the morning of January 19, 2009 my friend, Officer Jarod Dean, who worked for the Boston Heights Police Department, pulled his cruiser to the side of the road and turned on his emergency lights. Jarod was taking on a task many in law enforcement do everyday; he was attempting to clear debris from an accident from the roadway.

In his efforts to make sure it was safe for other motorists to pass, Jarod was struck by a box truck. What makes his death even more tragic is the driver of the truck that struck him could have avoided taking the life of my friend by following the move over/slow down law.

The Move-Over Law requires drivers to move-over one lane, if possible, whenever an emergency vehicle on the side of the road displays emergency lights. And, if traffic is too congested to move-over safely, the law requires drivers to simply slow down, below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop.

Like Ohio, Virginia implemented the Move Over/Slow Down law in 2002. In Virginia the law is a Class 1 misdemeanor. By not following the law, you face possible jail time, and a $2500 fine.

Unfortunately, many motorists are unfamiliar with the law and are unaware that each time an officer makes a traffic stop, it’s one of the gravest dangers police can face on the road today. More than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1997 after being struck by vehicles along America's highways.

When you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road with its emergency lights on, slow down, change lanes and save lives.

Deputy Elissa Wilk
Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office

Our thanks to Wilk for sharing this message with our readers.

Additional information is available on the Virginia State Police Web site. Watch a short video about the Slow Down/Move Over program in Virginia by clicking on the logo below.

For the latest Loudoun County traffic news and information, subscribe to Loudoun County Traffic via your favorite RSS reader, or get Loudoun County Traffic by e-mail.

1 comment:

  1. Great. So when cops are pulling people over for HOV violations, people in the HOV lane have to get out of the HOV lane? Or they get a ticket, too? Isn't traffic screwed up enough around here without this nonsense adding to it?