South Carolina Department of Public Safety_______
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 17, 2009
CONTACT: Community Resource Officers, 803-896-8144
SCDPS, SCDOT REMIND MOTORISTS TO MOVE OVER FOR EMERGENCY PERSONNEL, HIGHWAY WORKERS
COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Department of Public Safety and the SC Department of Transportation were joined today by law enforcement, firefighters and EMS at six locations around the state to emphasize the importance of the “Emergency Scenes” law in South Carolina. The law requires motorists to move over into the adjacent lane when they see first responders at work on the roadways.
The agencies released two public service announcements, one including all first responders, and the second one geared toward law enforcement working at traffic stops. The two spots were jointly produced by the agencies. Additionally, SCDOT began on June 1 placing highway signs up on roadways around the state saying “Move Over Or Reduce Speed For Stopped Emergency Vehicles.” The signs are at various locations along I-20, I-26, I-77, I-85, I-95, I-385 and I-526.
According to a national poll by Mason Dixon Polling & Research, sponsored by the National Safety Commission, 71 percent of Americans have not heard of “Move Over” laws. Incidents in which workers are struck while working at the scene of a collision, traffic stop or in work zones continue in South Carolina and nationwide.
More than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America's highways, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Four South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers have been struck by vehicles and killed since 1981 while working: http://www.schp.org/in_memory.asp.
SCDPS and SCDOT combined resources to address this issue through the two public service announcements. The PSAs may be viewed at: http://www.schp.org/cro/breaking_news.html. PSAs will be running on radio as well (see attached).
South Carolina law Section 56-5-1538 defines an emergency scene as “a location designated by the potential need to provide emergency medical care.” It is identified by emergency vehicles with flashing lights, rescue equipment, or emergency personnel on scene. South Carolina’s “Move Over” law also provides protection for highway workers. Section 56-5-1536 also requires motorists to “move over” into an adjacent lane whenever possible when passing temporary work zones. A temporary work zone is defined as “an area on a roadway identified by orange work zone signs or equipment with flashing lights, and the presence of workers on the scene.”
Drivers approaching a temporary work zone or an emergency scene are required by law to:
Endangering temporary work zone or emergency personnel is considered a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not less than $300 nor more than $500. Obeying this little-known law can save a life and prevent injury.
“The message we are trying to send is that if you see flashing lights, there is a potential hazard ahead,” said SCDPS Director Mark Keel. “Adjust your speed and began moving into the opposing lane. This gives emergency workers room to work. It is common sense but many people don’t realize it’s the law in South Carolina as well as most other states.”
Greenville Deputy Will Richter, who is featured in the law enforcement PSA, was struck and injured in a hit-and-run collision in 2007 while at a traffic stop. In-car video footage from his patrol car is shown in the public service announcement to illustrate the dangers law enforcement officers face each day.
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