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Two Illinois State Police troopers were senselessly killed in less than three months. They weren’t killed in chases or shootouts, and their deaths had nothing to do with criminals — at least not the type we typically associate with crime.

They were killed by vehicles as they were working vehicle stops.

Three Missouri state agencies — the Department of Public Safety, Missouri Highway Patrol and MoDOT —urge motorists to follow the law and use caution whenever approaching work zones and/or stopped emergency vehicles.

We’re glad to second that request.

National Work Zone Awareness Week begins April 8, but tragedy has already struck this year in neighboring Illinois, where a second Illinois State Police trooper working along a highway was struck and killed by a vehicle in less than three months.

Spring is the time of year when road projects, ranging from pothole repairs to street overlays, start increasing along with the temperatures.

“We ask all drivers to keep the safety of our public servants in mind when traveling Missouri roads,” MoDOT Deputy Director and Chief Engineer Ed Hassinger said in a news release. “They’re just trying to do their jobs and make it home safely that night.”

Missouri’s “Move Over” law requires motorists who encounter a stopped emergency services vehicle to “move over” and proceed with caution in the following ways:

• Proceed with caution and yield the right-of-way, if possible, with due regard to safety and traffic conditions by moving into a lane that is not adjacent to the stopped emergency vehicle while on a roadway with at least four lanes, at least two of which are in the motorist’s direction of travel.

• If a lane change is not possible, motorists must proceed with due caution and reduce their speed, maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions.

The above steps aren’t just suggestions; they’re state law. But they’re also common-sense steps that require attentiveness. That attentiveness could save a life.

Central Missouri Newspapers

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