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.
State must convince parents, schools about benefits of Common Core
It’s always nice to have a little bit of background information before diving into something new.
So we have to agree with West Virginia Board of Education president Gayle Manchin when she says the state should have done a better job of explaining Common Core standards when they were first introduced.
Those standards, part of a national educational initiative that sets learning goals designed to prepare students in kindergarten through 12th grade for college and career, will be fully implemented in every West Virginia school district next month.
Time is now for Tomblin to support King Coal Highway
U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, D-W.Va., is asking Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin to add the King Coal Highway project to West Virginia’s six-year highway improvement plan. It is a logical request, and one that Tomblin should act promptly on.
United effort to keep NASA in Fairmont is essential project
The high-technology sector is obviously vital to the economy of North Central West Virginia.
That’s why a strong, united effort to keep the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Program in Fairmont is absolutely essential.
COLUMN: Calling all readers: Be heard
I love to talk to readers.
I love to hear concerns they have about stories we’ve written, things they think should be included in the newspaper and things they think shouldn’t be.
Korean War veterans are deserving of a memorial
NEEDED: A total of $10,000 for the Korean War Memorial this year.
And a good man has been placed in charge of the funding. Charlie Reese, former president of the Marion County Chamber of Commerce, is now director of the Marion County Development Office. His task was to make a recommendation as to what steps are necessary to keep the project moving.
Roll up your sleeves, give blood and you can save lives
It takes up to 100 units of blood to save the life of someone who sustains life-threatening injuries in a vehicle accident.
We’re hoping that the number of people who come to Fairmont Senior High School on Friday for and American Red Cross blood drive will exceed that amount.
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.
- Too many taking too few steps to protect selves from skin cancer
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.
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