SPOKANE, Wash. - Troopers with the Washington State Patrol are conducting statewide "Slow Down, Move Over" emphasis patrols in an effort to educate drivers on a rule of the road often ignored.
By law, drivers are required to slow down, and if safe, change lanes when approaching an emergency zone, which includes 200 feet before and after an emergency vehicle making use of warning lights.
In the last two years, 62 patrol cars were hit and 24 troopers injured - an average of one per month.
Getting struck by a passing vehicle is a constant worry for first responders like WSP trooper Jeff Sevigney.
"I can count on one hand the number of times I've been scared of being shot or stabbed in this job, but I'm concerned everyday about being struck," Sevigney said. "I myself have run for my life several times."
KXLY rode along with Sevigney and witnessed several cars that neglected to slow down or move over. Sevigney pulled over a driver and gave him a warning, saying "keep an eye out for us, and try to keep our office safe out here."
Sevigney hopes drivers will keep first responders in mind while zooming down the freeway, especially during the winter months when crashes tend to increase.
The penalty for violating the law is $214 and the fine cannot be waived or reduced. In 2016, WSP contacted 4,175 drivers for the move over violation.
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