Our Opinion: Observe expanded Move Over law

Among the iconic signs of summer are workers involved in road construction.

In addition to being laborious, sweltering work, it also is dangerous.

Legislation to improve safety for highway workers was signed earlier this week by Gov. Jay Nixon.

The new law, effective Aug. 28, includes Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) vehicles in the 2002 “Move Over” law.

When safe to do so, motorists will be required to slow down and change lanes for MoDOT vehicles parked on roadsides and displaying flashing amber and white lights.

The existing law imposes those requirements when approaching law enforcement and emergency response vehicles on roadsides.

An estimated 2,400 MoDOT employees work daily on Missouri highways, according to Beth Wright, MoDOT state maintenance engineer. “Their number-one priority is to work safely,” she said, “and we appreciate every effort to help get them home safely every day.”

Despite those efforts, fatalities occur. Four MoDOT employees have been killed on the job since 2000.

A memorial to highway workers killed on the job — 128 since 1946 — will be dedicated at 9:30 a.m. Monday near MoDOT’s Central Office building in the Capitol Complex. The memorial was funded entirely with private contributions.

Enhancing safety is the intent of the Move Over law expansion.

“We are committed to the safety of all Missourians and our MoDOT workforce,” said MoDOT Director Kevin Keith. “I am grateful to the governor and Missouri Legislature for recognizing the importance of protecting MoDOT workers in the same way as the Highway Patrol and other emergency responders.”

The effectiveness of the Move Over law ultimately depends on Missouri motorists.

Be attentive, slow down and move over.

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