So, it has happened again: the parked vehicle of an emergency responder, assisting a disabled motorist, is struck on a major Connecticut roadway.
— an announcement from AAA Northeast
The latest incident occurred Thursday night when an officer in Orange was called to Marsh Hill Road, Orange for a vehicle fire. News reports state when the officer left his cruiser to assist the driver he was hit by a passing car. The unidentified officer has been hospitalized, reports said.
This situation again drives home the fact: many Connecticut drivers still aren’t heeding the state’s Slow Down, Move Over law, says AAA Northeast.
“You see this daily on our roadways,” said Fran Mayko, AAA Northeast spokeswoman. “Connecticut’s “Slow Down, Move Over” law means just that: when a driver sees an emergency vehicle, whether it’s a police cruiser, fire truck, ambulance, DOT vehicles, or a tow truck with activated lights, drivers need to reasonably slow down below the speed limit. And if possible, move to the adjacent lane to give responders space to operate.”
Even though Marsh Hill Road, Orange is not considered a state highway, it is a busy thoroughfare with several on and off ramps leading to and from I-95. “Slow Down, Move Over should apply to any situation when emergency responders are assisting disabled motorists,” said Mayko
Since the beginning of the year, media accounts have reported numerous — near hits or actual crashes of emergency responders on state roadways. Although most publicized incidents involve state police, AAA Northeast tow truck drivers have also experienced close calls.
In fact, one AAA employee was seriously injured in a multi-vehicle crash in Southport two years ago, when a speeding box truck collided into two parked AAA vehicles helping a disabled motorist.
Connecticut’s “Move Over law” was passed in 2009 to protect drivers of emergency vehicles, who assist disabled motorists on state roads. Fines range up to $2,500 if injuries are caused; and up to $10,000 if deaths result.