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Law Enforcement Launches Safety Campaign

December 21, 2011, 4:52 PM by Shawn Neisteadt

Law Enforcement Launches Safety Campaign
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Those who cover the roads to make sure you are following the rules want to remind you of a South Dakota law.

A move-over law has been in place for several years now. It says that when emergency crews are on the shoulder of the road, you must move over to pass them. But that doesn't always happen. Thirteen highway patrol cars were hit last winter alone.

"Some will even tell you that they see the emergency lights from a long ways off but they think it was something else or aren't quite sure what it was. Others will say they couldn't move over because of a truck or another car. We understand that those things happen, but that doesn't say that one or the other can't slow down," South Dakota Highway Patrol Captain Kevin Joffer said.

Law enforcement officials from across the state are now working together to spread their message about how important it is to slow down and move over for flashing lights. They'll be airing public service announcements and hanging billboards. They say it's just as important to remember in town as it is at highway speed.

"It's a very real issue out there for all of us. Normally, when you see those lights on at the side of the road, there's something going on. You're not always able to see what it is that is going on, so we certainly hope that motorists heed the warning and slow down, move over and keep people safe," Minnehaha County Sheriff Mike Milstead said.

The move over law doesn't just apply to emergency vehicles, it also applies to a vehicle that is stopped or broke down on the side of the road with the emergency hazard lights flashing. That's why law enforcement leaders say this is an important campaign for everyone's safety.

On top of that, they hope to not have any incidents like last year's that did more damage than what was evident by the crumpled cars.

"They were injured.  There are some of them that are still fighting things from last year's injuries that they just haven't been able to fully recover from. They're able to work but it's that sore neck that just won't go away. It's those things that are long lasting. Some of these guys are fairly young troopers," Joffer said. 

Everyone in law enforcement knows those crashes could have been much worse, yet they were preventable. This new campaign is their hope to prevent similar crashes.

Three South Dakota Department of Transportation snow plows were also hit by drivers last winter.

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