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Our Opinion: Expansion of "move over' law deserves signature

Our Opinion: Expansion of "move over' law deserves signature

News Tribune editorial

May 23rd, 2012 in News

An expansion of the Missouri's "move over" law deserves to be signed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

In this forum during February, we encouraged lawmakers to approve a measure extending the application of the law to Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) vehicles.

During the session that ended last week, legislators approved the expansion, which now awaits action by the governor.

If signed, the move-over requirement would be added to the existing law that requires motorists to change lanes - when safe to do so - and slow down for stopped emergency vehicles, including police cars, fire vehicles, ambulances, tow trucks and utility vehicles.

The enhancement would apply to MoDOT vehicles stopped on roadway shoulders and displaying flashing lights.

It would increase safety for an estimated 2,400 transportation employees who work near roadways on a daily basis.

The risks those workers face are real. This spring, crash cushions mounted on work trucks have been struck six times. And since 2000, four workers have been killed on the job after being struck by vehicles.

"We're delighted the move over law has passed," said Beth Wright, MoDOT's maintenance engineer.

Anecdotal evidence suggests motorists are observing the law. In our travels on Missouri highways, we repeatedly have witnessed drivers changing lanes as they approach emergency vehicles on roadsides.

The reaction shows drivers not only are obeying the law, they are paying attention. The men and women who must work beside busy highways merit the full attention of passing motorists. We urge the governor to sign the enhanced "move over" law.