Dozens of troopers are hit while assisting motorists on the side of the road every year. In addition to these tragedies, many motorists are killed annually as they attempt to change a flat tire or deal with a disabled vehicle on the roadside. Working on behalf of Maryland motorists, emergency responders, highway construction workers, tow truck operators, and highway patrol officers put their lives on the line every single day. That’s why it’s so crucial for motorists to move over when they see these workers.
Over a five-year time frame, Maryland saw more than 50 deaths and over 4,000 injuries in work zones. This, despite Maryland law that requires motorists to move over to another lane when approaching stopped vehicles with flashing lights. This includes emergency responders, tow trucks, and construction vehicles. When drivers are unable to safely move over, they are required to slow down.
Highway Patrol officers suffer from collisions across the country on a regular basis. The astonishing fact is that nearly 20 percent of accidental officer deaths are a result of being struck by a passing vehicle. When motorists are traveling under 15 mph, injuries are typically minor. As speed increases, so do consequences. At 15-30 mph, serious injuries are common, and the majority of fatalities occur when drivers are moving at 40+ mph.
Maryland Highway Patrol is working to address violations and have issued over 25,000 citations in recent years. Violations of the law in this matter could result in a fine of $110 and a point on one’s driver’s license. If the violation resulted in an accident, the fine increases to $150 and the points to three. Serious injuries or fatalities result in a $750 fine and three points.
If only motorists would pay attention and follow the law, many of these horrendous incidents could be avoided. The instant a driver sees flashing lights ahead, they should take the first opportunity to:
- Signal their intent to move one lane away from the event and then move when it is safe to do so;
- Patiently allow other vehicles to move over as well;
- Drop their speed, particularly if a safe move was unavailable.
Following this Type of Collision
If you are a highway patrol officer, ambulance driver, fire fighter, construction worker, tow truck operator, or civilian working to assist someone on the roadside, take every precaution to maintain safety. If you or a loved one is injured or killed, what recourse do you have? At the Law Office of Hasson D. Barnes, our Baltimore personal injury attorneys are committed to helping victims such as yourself. You may be entitled to significant damages to address medical bills, funeral costs, lost present and future wages, and more. To discuss the specifics of your case, schedule a confidential consultation in our office today.