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Jed Boal ReportingState Troopers will start to crack down on a year-old traffic law that has not caught everyone's attention yet. Compliance can mean the difference between life and death, so UDOT and the UHP need the help of all drivers.
More than a year ago, lawmakers passed a law that aims to protect emergency vehicles pulled off on the side of the highway. It's called the "Slow Down, Move Over" law. Some drivers get it, others don't, but state troopers are ready to write tickets.
If you break down on the side of the road Alan Peterson just might be your good Samaritan. He's one of a dozen UDOT Incident Management Specialists on the Wasatch Front and among hundreds of state troopers and other emergency vehicles that work the side of the interstate with cars and trucks flying by.
Alan Peterson, Incident Management Specialist: “When we're out there, I don't think people realize how dangerous it is to be out on the side of the road."
More than 150 crashes each year involve emergency vehicles. Last year lawmakers passed a law to help. When you spot an emergency vehicle on the side of the road you must slow down and move over a lane. If you can't change lanes, you must move over as far as practical.
Alan Peterson, Incident Management Specialist: “There are some people out there who don't realize what the law is anymore."
If you don't make your best effort to move over the class-C misdemeanor will cost you 85 dollars. But it could go as high as one thousand dollars if you do some serious damage.
Trooper Kevin Elmer was hit in Utah County last May. He was sitting in his cruiser writing a citation to a speeder. He looked up in his rear-view mirror just in time to see a red SUV plow into his car at 65-70 miles per hour. He spent four months recovering.
Trooper Kevin Elmer, Utah Highway Patrol: “Just move over, slow down and sometimes, just slowing down is all we can do. Just back off the gas.”
Just nine days ago a motorcycle trooper was hit.
Trooper Kevin Elmer, Utah Highway Patrol: ”It's becoming more and more common, as we work on the side of a very busy road."
UDOT and the UHP say it's a common sense law -- emergency workers need more lifesaving space out there.