A Michigan State Police (MSP) trooper was seriously injured in a crash yesterday on eastbound I-696 near the Lodge Freeway in Southfield after he was struck by a large construction van. The trooper, who pulled over to the right shoulder, was responding to a vehicle in the ditch when his vehicle was struck. The crash happened about 7 a.m. The unidentified trooper was transported to Providence Hospital with facial injuries, back pain and head trauma, but his injuries appear to be non-life threatening. The driver of the construction van was not injured. The crash is under investigation, but reportedly happened after the driver of the construction van failed to follow the Michigan “Move Over Law”.
“The crash emphasizes the importance of safe driving,” said MSP First Lt. Mike Shaw. Shaw said it is not uncommon for troopers to get hit by distracted drivers. “It is one of the reason you might see two or three lanes closed when there is a crash,” he said. “It is not only to protect our troopers, EMS and tow trucks, but also to protect the people at the crash scene.”
The crash comes a week after MSP officials held a news conference about the Move Over Law, which requires motorists to move over one lane, (or slow down and pass with caution if they can’t move over), when they see a police car, fire truck or emergency vehicle on the side of the road with its lights flashing. The July 18 event, held at the Michigan State Police Metro North Post in Oak Park, was part of a traffic safety effort to remind motorists, or make them aware of, the Move Over Law. According to a release, 80 percent of drivers were aware of the law, but only 60 percent knew it also applied to tow trucks. Those involved in the effort say too many drivers are putting emergency responders at risk by failing to obey the Move Over Law.
Here is the law:
On roads with 2 or more lanes of travel in the same direction. When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated, carefully move over into an open lane, at least one lane away from the emergency vehicle. If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.
On roads with 1 lane of travel in each direction. The operator of a vehicle traveling on a roadway which only has one lane of travel for each direction shall, upon approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.
A motorist found responsible for violating the Move Over Law is guilty of a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $500.00, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both. A motorist who violates the law and causes injury to a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency response personnel in the immediate area of the stationary authorized emergency vehicle is guilty of a felony punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or imprisonment for not more than 2 years, or both. Motorists face enhanced penalties of up to 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine if the violation causes death to a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency response personnel.
Be careful out there, don’t be distracted and when it comes to emergency vehicles and construction workers, ‘Give Em A Lane!”
Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series—Mark Bello is also the CEO of Lawsuit Financial and the country’s leading expert in providing non-recourse lawsuit funding to plaintiffs involved in pending litigation. He is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.