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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Maryland 'Move Over' Law Awareness

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, PGFD Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930
Elena Russo, Maryland State Police Media Communications, 410-653-4236

Public Safety leaders are reminding our citizens and visitors about the importance of the Maryland’s ‘move over’ law.  Gathered at the Maryland State Police Barracks in College Park on Wednesday afternoon were State Police Superintendent Marcus L. Brown, Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor, County Police Major Rob Brewer and M. Kent Krabbe; Executive Director of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund.

Prince George's County Fire Chief Marc S. Bashoor 
 “As our highways grow more congested and driver inattentiveness grows due to the advent of handheld communication and information technologies, our concern for responder and worker safety at traffic incidents has never been greater," said Fire Chief Marc Bashoor.  “While secondary incidents involving workers can take many forms, they often occur when our emergency personnel are struck by inattentive or distracted drivers, while we are working at a roadway scene.”

The intent of Maryland’s ‘move over’ law is to provide an extra barrier of safety for firefighters, paramedics and police officers working along the highway.  Drivers approaching from the rear of an emergency vehicle using visual signals while stopped on a highway should, if possible, “make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle.  This movement should only be done if another lane in the same direction is available and the move can be made safely without impeding other traffic.  If moving to another lane away from the stopped emergency vehicle is not possible, the law requires drivers to ‘slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.”

Violation of the "move over" law is a primary offense with a fine of $110 and one point.

Fire Chief Bashoor commented on statistics by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) study.  He stated, “Contained in this report in 2005, 390 workers were killed in ‘struck-by’ incidents, up 40% from 2004, and up 15% from the annual average from 2000-2004.  By 2005, ‘struck-by’ incidents accounted for an alarming 7 percent of all fatal occupational injuries in America.”

Any opportunity that the Public Safety leaders standing before you have to enhance the safety of our personnel operating on incident scenes is a high priority for all of us.  The Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department is proud to join with our emergency service partners in this initiative. 

In conclusion, Chief Bashoor emphasized, “Any time you see an emergency vehicle stopped in the roadway with lights flashing; SLOW DOWN, MOVE OVER, and ABOVE ALL, STAY ALERT! The single most important thing you can do to protect yourself and others is to pay attention behind the wheel. Help us avoid yet another needless tragedy – slow down, move over, stay alert.”

Fire Chief Marc Bashoor MAIF Exec. Dir. M. Kent Krabbe, State Police Superintendent Marcus Brown
and County Police Major Rob Brewer

Fire Chief Bashoor stated, "We are at the point that we feel that we have done everything we can do to protect all of our workers, yet more and more emergency personnel are being injured or killed on emergency scenes each year. We urge travelers to obey the law – slow down and move over any time they see construction or emergency traffic ahead.  Help us protect you and us – help us lower the statistics by respecting everyone’s safety and practicing good driving judgment."

Fire/EMS Department personnel including our four Deputy Fire Chiefs, two Assistant Chiefs and a Battalion Chief

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