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Local 5’s Letter to the Editor: Sheriff discusses passing stopped emergency, roadside service vehicles

Local News
Letter to the editor
A Letter to the Editor, From the Local 5 Digital Desk

Written by Dodge County Sheriff Dale J. Schmidt.

While driving out and about, it is important to remember that if you see emergency vehicles, utility vehicles or tow trucks on the side of the road, to move over or slow down.

On January 11, 2020, Police Officer Nicholas Reyna of the Lubbock Police Department in Texas and Eric Hill of the Lubbock Fire Department in Texas were both killed and another firefighter was critically injured after being struck by a vehicle while assisting at a crash.

On January 12, 2020, Detective Amber Joy Leist from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department was attempting to assist an elderly lady who fell in the roadway and Amber was struck and killed by a vehicle while walking back to her car.

Motor vehicle crashes kill more law enforcement officers on duty than any other cause and motorists failing to move over is one of the biggest reasons. When you see a vehicle on the side of the road with emergency lights flashing, realize that they are just steps away from moving traffic.

Take the time to move over or slow down. They have families waiting for them to come home as well. If any of you have been stranded on the side of the road, you know how scary it can be. Take the extra second and save a life.

346.072 Passing stopped emergency or roadside service vehicles.

(1g) In this section, “emergency or roadside service vehicle” means any of the following:

(a) An authorized emergency vehicle giving visual signal.

(b) A tow truck flashing red lamps, as required by s. 347.26 (6) (b).

(c) Any road machinery or motor vehicle used in highway construction or maintenance displaying the lights specified in s. 347.23 (1) (a) or (b) or, with respect to a motor vehicle, displaying the lights specified in s. 347.26 (7).

(d) Any vehicle of a public utility, telecommunications carrier, or cooperative association described in s. 347.26 (9) displaying one or more flashing amber lamps as provided in s. 347.26 (9).

(1m) If an emergency or roadside service vehicle is parked or standing on or within 12 feet of a roadway, the operator of a motor vehicle approaching the emergency or roadside service vehicle shall proceed with due regard for all other traffic and shall do either of the following:

(a) Move the motor vehicle into a lane that is not the lane nearest the parked or standing emergency or roadside service vehicle and continue traveling in that lane until safely clear of the emergency or roadside service vehicle. This paragraph applies only if the roadway has at least two lanes for traffic proceeding in the direction of the approaching motor vehicle and if the approaching motor vehicle may change lanes safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.

(b) Slow the motor vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions and operate the motor vehicle at a reduced speed until completely past the emergency or roadside service vehicle. This paragraph applies only if the roadway has only one lane for traffic proceeding in the direction of the approaching motor vehicle or if the approaching motor vehicle may not change lanes safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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