A Virginia State Police motorcycle officer sustained serious injuries when a driver ran onto the shoulder of I-264 in Virginia Beach and hit him from behind. The accident occurred near the Independence Boulevard exit toward Town Center on the afternoon of August 31, 2014.
Reports indicate that the trooper had pulled over to monitor traffic that had backed up near the interchange. The driver of the car that struck him told authorities that they swerved to avoid ramming into the line of stopped vehicles. No charges were immediately filed, but investigators need to consider whether the at-fault driver had been speeding, merely going too fast for traffic conditions, distracted or impaired by drugs or alcohol.
It is also possible that in failing to maintain proper control of the car, the at-fault driver violated Virginia's so-called "move over law." Regulations require drivers approaching law enforcement officers, emergency responders and road crews to slow down and, if it is safe to do so, change lanes to give the people working along the side of the highway enough room to stay safe. Even though the law has been in effect for many years and has been expanded and strengthen several times, dozens of drivers hit, injure and, sadly, kill individuals on the shoulder and in medians with alarming frequency. In fact, during a September 3, 2014, briefing, a Virginia Department of Transportation official told Hampton Roads journalists that 21 work zone accidents have occurred on I-264 in Virginia Beach and Norfolk since April.
Whatever led to the collision during Labor Day weekend, my Virginia personal injury law firm colleagues and I hope the trooper makes a full and rapid recovery. We also urge all drivers to watch for, and give space to, people working near roadsides.