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Our Opinion: Legislators move to expand 'Move Over' law

If you’ve ever suffered a vehicle breakdown on a busy highway, you have some idea of the peril associated with standing only a few feet from speeding traffic.

That danger is experienced on a daily basis by some law enforcement officers, emergency responders and highway workers.

A proposal being considered by lawmakers would expand the state’s “Move Over” law to include Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) vehicles with flashing amber or white lights.

The existing law is designed to enhance safety for personnel when their emergency vehicles are stopped on a roadway shoulder and displaying flashing lights.

Motorists approaching those vehicles are required to move over by changing lanes, when safe to do so. If they cannot change lanes, drivers must reduce speed and exercise caution.

In addition to adding MoDOT vehicles to the law, the bill sponsored by Sen. Mike Parson, R-Bolivar, would prohibit passing another vehicle in an area when emergency personnel clearly can be seen working.

Move Over legislation is not a capricious reaction to a conceptual problem.

Instead, it is a response to accidents that have injured or killed personnel involved in highway safety efforts.

Improving our roads, enforcing our laws and responding to emergencies all are jobs that involve risk.

Those efforts are not designed to frustrate and inconvenience motorists; the work is being done to improve conditions on our behalf.

As motorists, our responsibility is to respect their work and minimize their risk.

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