It’s a matter of common sense.
And it’s the law.
Law-enforcement officers are at risk when they step out of their vehicles during their around-the-clock duties, and it’s not only from the people they’re pursuing or needing to question.
More than 150 U.S. officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
In response, a new coalition of traffic safety and law-enforcement groups has launched a nationwide public awareness campaign to protect emergency personnel along roadsides.
“Move Over, America” is a partnership originally founded in 2007 by the National Safety Commission, the National Sheriffs’ Association and the National Association of Police Organizations. The partnership has also received the full support of the American Association of State Troopers.
The month of June, in fact, is being promoted as National Move Over Awareness Month.
The campaign, according to its website, “is the first nationally coordinated effort to educate Americans about ‘Move Over’ laws and how they help protect the law-enforcement officers who risk their lives protecting the public.”
West Virginia is among 43 states that have passed such laws, which require motorists to move over and change lanes to give safe clearance to law-enforcement officers on roadsides. A motorist can face up to 60 days in jail or a $500 fine for violating this law in West Virginia.
The importance of following the law and avoiding even a momentary lack of concentration when behind the wheel was illustrated early Thursday morning in the southern part of West Virginia, when a vehicle struck a West Virginia State Police trooper along Interstate 77 in Mercer County and then fled the scene of the crash.
As the Bluefield Daily Telegraph reported, Trooper First Class D.R. White of the West Virginia State Police Parkways Authority (Turnpike) parked his cruiser on the shoulder of the roadway on I-77 north at the 15.5 mile marker near Athens to remove debris near the middle of the roadway.
Lt. Michael Baylous, a public information officer for the West Virginia State Police, said White’s cruiser bar light, complete with directional blue and red lighting to alert motorists to move left, was activated. On his way back to the cruiser, White was struck by a vehicle. Baylous said it is believed that White was struck by the passenger-side mirror of the vehicle.
Baylous said White received injuries which forced him to crawl off the roadway, back to his cruiser. He issued a radio call for medical assistance. Baylous said White was treated and released Thursday morning from an area hospital and is experiencing considerable overall pain.
Hit-and-run, obviously, adds to the already serious nature of this incident. Even a momentary lack of attention to officers or other first-responders along the road can lead to a tragic accident.
“If you see emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the roadway, you have a responsibility to at least slow down, and if possible to move into the lane farther away from those vehicles,” Baylous said. “But at a minimum people should be slowing down. And if that lane is available, you are expected to get over.”
That’s just common sense — and the law.
It’s a matter of common sense.
Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely
The days are long. The weather is superb. There’s plenty of leisure time in these lazy days of summer.
It’s the perfect time to take a long motorcycle ride.
It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to take the time to remind not only riders but drivers of the need to share the road. And we feel compelled to mention it because just within the month of July, there have been two motorcycle-versus-car accidents within the City of Fairmont alone — one with severe injuries sustained by the motorcyclist and the other with less serious injury.
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Distracted driving: It isn’t worth fine or a life
Today marks the day that police agencies from six states are joining forces to crack down on one thing — distracted driving.
And they will focus on that traffic violation for a solid week, with the stepped-up effort to curb distracted driving wrapping up on Saturday, July 26.
COLUMN: Are we people watchers or people judgers?
Let me tell you about my little friend Robby. Well, actually, it’s more about his family and especially his mom. I didn’t get her name. I heard Robby’s name quite a bit, though, during a trip home from Birmingham, Alabama.
I noticed the family in the Birmingham airport immediately. They were just the kind of family you’d notice.
Relish the rich bounty of state’s diverse, unique food traditions
This week, a group of federal officials on a three-day culinary tour of the state visited the Greenbrier Valley to find out what most of us here already know — we have a rich food tradition in West Virginia.
The group was made up of officials from the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Soup Opera in need of your support again this time of year
It’s happening again.
It usually always happens about this time each year. Sometimes it’s a little earlier and sometimes a little later.
But Soup Opera executive director Shelia Tennant knows it will come — usually in July. And she’s never that surprised about it.
County honors men who gave all in helping their community
The next time you’re driving in the Rivesville area, you might notice new signs on two of the area’s bridges.
Those signs, which bear the names of Alex Angelino and Denzil O. Lockard, were unveiled Saturday in honor of the men whose names they display, two men who died while serving their communities.
The bridge on U.S. 19 over Paw Paw Creek was named to honor Lockard, while the bridge on U.S. 19 over Pharaoh Run Creek was named to honor Angelino. Lockard, a former Rivesville police chief, died in 1958 at the age of 48 while directing traffic. Angelino, a Rivesville firefighter, died at the age of 43 of a heart attack while fighting a fire in 1966.
State must learn to keep costs down and perform more efficiently on less
The West Virginia state government began its budget year last Tuesday with a small surplus of $40 million — less than 1 percent of its annual tax revenues — thanks only to dipping into its savings.
Let’s not do that again.
Long-range vision with transportation has been made to be thing of proud past
Last week’s closure of Fairmont’s Fourth Street Bridge is a symbol of a problem that must be fixed.
The United States should be proud of the vision its leaders once displayed to address the country’s transportation needs.
Back in 1954, for example, President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced his goal of an interstate highway system — something that transformed the country.
COLUMN: Who would leave animal in sweltering car?
I was standing and debating between two brands of a product in a big box store when I heard a call over the intercom:
“Will the owner of a green Cavalier with a dog inside please report to the lawn and garden center.”
I shook my head. I hate seeing dogs in cars waiting while their owners shop. About five minutes later, there was another announcement over the intercom.
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- Vehicles and motorcycles must share the road safely