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Agencies Join Together to Stress Safe Driving Practices Around Emergency Vehicles and Others Offering Motorist Assistance

August 12, 2011 - Statewide Transportation Plan - GOLDEN, COLORADO – Representatives from the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP), West Metro Fire Protection District, Pleasant View Metropolitan District, Connolly Towing, Denver West Towing and other agencies joined together in stressing the need for increased awareness and cooperation of the traveling public in driving safely in accordance with Colorado law around emergency and maintenance response vehicles on Colorado highways.

An event to highlight the need was held today at the Colorado State Patrol Academy at Camp George West in Golden.

Among the speakers were Colorado State Patrol Chief, Col. Jim Wolfinbarger, CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt, and Mindy McIntyre, whose father, CDOT employee David Wright, was seriously injured during debris removal operations on I-70 near Evergreen Parkway on Aug. 5.

Col. Wolfinbarger pointed out that there are several factors involved in driving safely in the vicinity of emergency response vehicles.  “First are common sense and courtesy,” he said.  “Second, it’s important to know driver responsibilities under the terms of Colorado’s ‘Move Over Law.’  Whenever a motorist sees an emergency response vehicle along a highway, they must be aware of the potential for response workers and additional traffic in the area.  We are asking for the public’s cooperation and courtesy as we strive to keep everyone safe along the highways.”

CDOT’s Executive Director asked the traveling public to be aware and safety conscious.

“When you see one of our familiar orange trucks on the highway, or an ambulance or fire truck, or a law enforcement vehicle, you need to know there may be people walking in the vicinity, adjacent to high-speed traffic.  That’s the time to slow down and merge over if you can. We’re also concerned about the safety of motorists and hope that by increasing awareness, workers and motorists alike will be able to share the highway safely.”

McIntyre’s father is listed in serious but stable condition after being struck on I-70 while clearing potentially hazardous debris.  She asked the public to give response workers a safe zone.  “While road workers and construction zones may feel like just another obstacle in your busy day,” she said. “They’re providing a service to you—patching holes, widening your driving space, plowing and sanding, and removing safety hazards from your path.  They’re called upon to  make difficult, time-sensitive decisions, often adjacent to high-speed traffic.  We’re accustomed to taking extra care when driving around school buses, and I ask that you offer the same level of respect and care around emergency response and maintenance workers.  They’re human, and they’re breakable, and their families and friends want them to come home safely every day.  We can all help by simply paying attention, slowing in their presence, and giving them the room they need to serve us all.”

 

Move Over Law in Summary - Colorado’s Move Over Law stipulates required driver response to approaching emergency response vehicles as well as those stopped along the roadways.  In summary, when emergency vehicles are approaching on a non-divided highway, all vehicles are required to move to the right side of the roadway and stop, clearing a path for the emergency vehicle to have the right of way.  On a divided highway, those vehicles traveling the same direction as the emergency response vehicle are required to pull over to the right and stop until the vehicle passes.

In the case of emergency or response vehicles stopped along the roadway, including maintenance trucks and vehicles from CDOT, counties, and municipalities, the Move Over Law requires drivers to slow down and drive responsibly when on two-lane highways, and on divided multi-lane highways to slow down and move to a lane away from the emergency vehicle to allow maximum clear space for personnel to respond.

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