New Law to Protect Emergency Workers
Officers Alert Motorists to New Law meant to Protect Emergency Workers
Boise, Sept. 1, 2006 - Boise Police want to educate motorists about a new law designed to protect traffic officers and other emergency workers.
"We're more likely to be injured by another driver running into us than we are by being shot," said Boise Police Sgt. Bryan Hagler. "Traffic Officers have the most dangerous job on the police department."
The new law, that went into effect July 1st, requires motorists who see a police or emergency vehicle parked with it's lights flashing to either change lanes if possible (if the road has two or more lanes in the same direction), or to slow down until they are past the emergency vehicles.
Boise Police traffic experts have been studying the new law. Sgt. Hagler says officers will work in teams to monitor motorists during traffic stops or other roadside emergencies. Violators could receive a $62 ticket.
"We think about this every time we make a traffic stop," said Officer Rick Burch who works as a motorcycle officer specializing in traffic enforcement. "A lot of times, we'll go up on the right side of a car because we're in fear for our lives with people passing us and getting hit on the left side."
According to national statistics, 63 officers around the country died in traffic accidents last year. Of those, 16 were struck and killed by passing vehicles while they worked outside their patrol cars. Emergency vehicles of all types have been struck while parked beside a highway, even with their emergency lights flashing.
***For video and a photograph of incidents involving police vehicles hit while parked with lights flashing, please go to: www.boisepolice.org, to Multimedia (left side navigation bar), to Police Video Files, to DUI Investigation Introduction video. Also, the Idaho State Police web site, http://www.isp.state.id.us/ has further info on the law and more video/photo of accidents that have occurred involving police vehicles being hit while parked on roadways with lights flashing.