A collision on a central Virginia interstate illustrates how important it is for every driver to obey the state's move over law.
On the night of March 9, 2015, a tractor-trailer crashed into the rear of a Rockbridge County Sheriff's Office cruiser on the shoulder of I-81 near the town of Raphine, VA. The deputy seated in the police vehicle sustained six broken ribs and needed to be flown by helicopter to the University of Virginia Medical Center after first being transported to a local hospital. The law enforcement officer is expected to recover, but similar accidents in which passenger vehicle drivers and commercial truck operators have failed to give individuals working on the side of the road adequate time and space have proven fatal.
The semi operator has been charged with reckless driving. Commenting on the wreck, Rockbridge Sheriff Chris Blalock said,
The move over law in Virginia is very clear. When you see an emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road, you need to move over into the other lane if it is safe to do so. If the other lane is occupied, then you need to maintain a safe speed and proceed by the emergency vehicle with caution. All too often, people just panic when they see emergency lights flashing and make abrupt changes in their driving. Just remain calm and make a safe lane change or make a slow safe pass by the emergency vehicle.
My Virginia personal injury colleagues and I hope everyone heed the sheriff's advice. The responsibility for protecting the lives and health of police, EMTs, wrecker operators and other emergency responders rests with every driver.