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The Journal Gazette

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Saturday, May 04, 2019 1:00 am

Driver alertness key to highway safety

More than 300 Indiana motorists were issued tickets and warnings during a weeklong special patrol enforcing the state's Move Over law last month. Those motorists and others should be mindful of the law as the construction season moves into high gear and more cars are on Indiana roads.

Indiana State Police issued 220 tickets for failure to change lanes for emergency vehicles on a four-lane highway during the enforcement action, according to the Anderson Herald Bulletin.

The law was passed after state Trooper Andrew Winzenread was struck and killed by a semitrailer in Decatur County in 1997. He had stopped to assist a motorist with an empty gas tank and was hit while exiting his vehicle.

The law requires motorists to slow down and move over when an emergency vehicle, utility service vehicle, highway maintenance or tow truck is stopped on a two- or four-lane roadway with emergency lights flashing.

If traffic does not allow a driver to change lanes, the motorist should reduce speed and proceed with caution. 

The No. 1 cause of law enforcement deaths is traffic incidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Between 2007 and 2016, 130 officers died in the line of duty after being struck by a vehicle, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Be alert while driving interstates, highways and local streets and roads this spring and always.