ATLANTA -- In four days three police officers assisting motorists on the side of the road have been struck by passing vehicles. One of them was killed. In each case, the vehicle that hit them violated a 10-year-old state law, Georgia's Move Over Law.
In the past two years, three public safety professionals have lost their lives because drivers disobeyed the Move Over Law. In February 2011 HERO worker Spencer Pass was killed on I-85 near Cleveland Avenue while assisting a stranded driver. Last January Atlanta Police Officer Gail Thomas was killed by a drunk driver while she was assisting other officers with a traffic accident.
Then Monday Henry County Police Officer Elgin Daniel was killed while helping a motorist on Highway 138 in Stockbridge.
"They can have on reflective vests, they can have on every light in the car, and people will still drive by and come close to hitting them or hit them," said Governor's Office of Highway Safety Director Harris Blackwood.
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Georgia's Move Over Law went into effect in 2003. It says drivers must move over one lane when they see red, blue or amber emergency lights on the side of the road. If you can't move over, the law says you need to slow down and be prepared to stop.
"I don't know how you tell people any more," Director Blackwood said. "We've told them time and time again and we keep getting our public safety professionals injured."
There are signs on Georgia's highways warning motorist about the law. Many times the overhead electronic signs warn motorists about their responsibility when they see emergency lights.
"When you see that blue light, or that red light, or that amber light it should be a sign to you as a warning: I need to slow down," Blackwood said. "It ought to click in your head every time it happens."
Under the law ,a person who violates the Move Over Law can be fined up to $500 and it will cost three points on your driver's license.
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