Recently, a local cop was responding to a highway accident early in the morning when he was struck by a vehicle and thrown through the air. Although the officer’s injuries were not life-threatening, the vehicle hit him at a high speed, causing serious injuries. Unfortunately, not all police officers survive being struck by vehicles.
So far this year, six officers nationwide(including one K9) have died due to injuries from being hit by a vehicle. Most of these injuries happened when the officer had stopped to assist at the scene of an automobile accident. Automobile accidents, vehicular pursuit, motorcycle accidents, and vehicular assault account for over 30 more officer deaths this year. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund website, 42 percent of recent officer’s deaths were vehicular related. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to make the roadways a little safer for police officers and other emergency responders.
- Move over. The New Jersey Move Over Law requires you to slow down when you see flashing lights on the side of the road. This includes slowing down for emergency vehicles as well as tow trucks. If you can do so safely, you should also move over to another lane. This gives the people a greater bubble of protection. If you set the example, those behind you will be more likely to follow.
- Yield to emergency vehicles. When you hear or see an emergency vehicle approaching, New Jersey Law requires you to pull off on the far right of the road, stop, and wait for the vehicle to pass. When reentering the roadway, you should also stay at least 300 feet behind the emergency vehicle.
- Be aware of and listen to a police officer who is directing traffic. If there is an accident or weather-related issue which may make roadways unsafe, a police officer might tell you to take a different route or may direct you to pull off the road for a time. This could be for your safety as well as the safety of others. If you see police officers directing traffic, you may need to roll down your window and listen to directions. Do not try to weave around them or speed by them.
Unfortunately, while you are working to keep roadways safer for emergency responders, other drivers may not be paying as much attention to their driving. Contact us if you suffered injuries from a vehicle hitting you or your vehicle. An experienced New Jersey accident lawyer will discuss your case with you.