LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - This week is National Traffic Incident Response Awareness Week, and Louisiana State Police is reminding drivers of an important traffic law that many people may not know about.
It’s called the ‘Move Over’ law. It’s not new, but state police are still having to remind drivers about the rule and the consequences of breaking it.
If a vehicle is on the side of the road with flashing lights, such as someone changing a tire or an emergency vehicle responding to a crash, drivers must move a lane away from the stopped vehicle.
Not making a lane change in this instance could result in receiving a traffic violation, but more importantly, could be dangerous to those on the side of the road.
State Trooper Derek Senegal says it’s important for the public to know that not following the ‘Move Over’ law could put lives at risk.
“We just want to make sure people are aware that it is a law, and it’s also a safety concern,” Tpr. Senegal said. “It insures that everyone gets home safely because when we’re conducting traffic stops on the side of the roadway, I couldn’t tell you how many times that a vehicle passes my unit or one of my other fellow trooper’s units driving full speed right next to us, or we’re investigating a crash. We’d like a little bit of room so that it gives us a little extra safety and it just ensures everyone will go home safely.”
In 2016, a Fenton police officer was killed after a vehicle struck the back of his police unit while he conducted a traffic stop.
"We see these drivers, they’ll run into the back of a unit with their emergency lights on, and the officer or trooper, whoever’s there, tries to get out of the way, or if it’s the driver. That can prevent fatalities, injuries. If you can’t change lanes safely, what they want you to do is reduce your speed under the speed limit until you have passed that vehicle, then you can continue on your way and get back up to speed.”
The main goal of this awareness campaign is letting drivers know that making a simple lane change could save lives.