Early this June, a 24-year-old Arizona man driving an SUV was involved in a deadly car accident. The SUV driver was subsequently arrested for manslaughter in connection with the death of a 29-year-old Phoenix police officer. The Phoenix police officer was killed at around 3:30 AM while he was on the roadside investigating a possible DUI matter. According to Officer.com, the SUV driver lost control of his vehicle and allegedly hit the Phoenix police officer while the officer was making the roadside stop. The SUV driver then fled the scene of the crash, but police were able to identify him and gather evidence over the next two weeks to charge him with manslaughter.
The death of the Phoenix police officer was a tragedy, and the officer left behind both a wife and young daughter. Unfortunately, our Arizona accident lawyers know this was not the only instance where a police officer was killed when making a traffic stop. In fact, the AZ Capital Times has reported that an average of one law enforcement officer and 23 highway workers are killed each month as well as one tow truck driver every six days.
Move Over Campaign Aims to Reduce Accident Deaths
In an effort to and reduce the high number of fatal roadside collisions involving police officers, tow truck drivers and other workers, the laws in Arizona mandate that drivers must move over one lane whenever passing a vehicle pulled over along the side of the road with its flashing lights on. If it is not possible for drivers to move over one lane upon encountering a vehicle on the side of the road, then the passing driver must slow down and exercise caution.
These laws related to passing slowly or moving over are aptly named “move over laws.” Such laws have been passed in the majority of states throughout the United States, but, unfortunately, many people are not aware that moving over is a legal requirement.
The Arizona Department of Transportation and the Arizona Department of Public Safety recently decided to tackle this problem, running a statewide campaign intended to raise awareness about the move over laws in Arizona. The campaign was launched in March of this year and included advertisements and public education efforts throughout the state.
Hopefully, drivers who see the DOT’s “Move Over!” campaign will become aware that they are required to move over one lane when they encounter police, tow trucks, highway workers or any type of emergency vehicle. The campaign should serve as an important reminder that these individuals who work on roadsides are in serious danger if other motorists fail to exercise reasonable care when passing them by.
Drivers who fail to obey move over laws could become legally responsible for the consequences of any accidents they cause. This could mean that injured accident victims could pursue a claim for injury damages or surviving family members of those left behind could pursue a claim for wrongful death losses.
If you were hurt in a Phoenix car accident, contact the Law Offices of Jeffery J. Hernandez at (866) 324-9204 for a free consultation.