More than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed over the last decade as they were struck by vehicles along America’s highways, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Fifteeen of those deaths occurred last year alone. Four South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers have been struck and killed since 1981.The Palmetto state has joined 43 other states in passing new highway laws to protect emergency and law enforcement personnel as well as road crews. The South Carolina Department of Transportation has begun installing 30 signs on interstates, including Interstate 20, Interstate 26, Interstate 77, Interstate 85, Interstate 385 and Insterstate 526. The signs read “move Over Or Reduce Speed For Stopped Emergency Vehicles.” Being caught not doing that will cost you a fine of $300 or more.
Department of Public Safety Lance Corporal Josef Robinson says safety is paramount. “We want our personnel to operate safely out there. They can be seen but we want them to be safe, also.”
Robinson says the new law applies any time a motorist encounters flashing lights on the road. “You’re going to see flashing lights, yellow lights, red lights, and with law enforcement, blue lights. And with DOT you’ll see yellow or amber lights.”
In South Carolina the law also requires protection for workers in temporary work zones identified by orange work zone signs.