State Patrol officials use damage squad to send a message ahead of National Move Over Day Oct. 19
DEFOREST — Officials used a damaged Wisconsin State Patrol cruiser to send a message Thursday, Oct. 17 in DeForest, ahead of National Move Over Day Saturday, Oct. 19.
Law enforcement officials, county maintenance workers, tow truck drivers, and other emergency responders came together to send a life-saving reminder to motorists to please watch the road ahead carefully and be ready to move over — or at least slow down — when approaching stopped emergency and roadside service vehicles that have their warning lights flashing. They used a State Patrol cruiser damaged in a move-over-related crash earlier this year to illustrate the hazards faced by emergency responders.
“Any time we stop along a highway to assist at a crash scene or speak with a motorist, one of our major concerns is the potential to be struck by a passing vehicle,” said Trooper James Kicmol, a 29-year Wisconsin State Patrol veteran in a news release. “The Move Over Law helps protect motorists and emergency responders who often must work just feet away from traffic.”
According to the release, on June 24, 2019, Trooper Kicmol was conducting a traffic stop along eastbound I-94 near Cottage Grove in Dane County when a semi crashed into the rear of his patrol vehicle. Fortunately, there were no significant injuries. However, both vehicles sustained considerable damage and had to be towed from the scene.
Wisconsin’s Move Over Law requires drivers to move out of the lane closest to vehicles that are stopped along a highway with their warning lights activated. If a driver is unable to move over, then they must slow down. The law applies to law enforcement vehicles, ambulances, fire trucks, tow trucks, utility, and highway maintenance vehicles.
Violations can result in a citation ($263) — or worse — a deadly crash. Since 2017, there have been 2,034 traffic convictions in Wisconsin for violating the Move Over Law.
“The safety of the traveling public will always be our primary focus, but at the same time, I’m very concerned about the safety of our law enforcement officers and all roadside workers,” said Wisconsin State Patrol Superintendent Tony Burrell in the release. “Drivers are responsible to maintain safe control of their vehicle at all times and that includes watching their speed, being alert, and moving over for emergency responders as required by law.”
The Wisconsin Department of Transportation shared video from two incidents in the FOX6 viewing area:
- December 2, 2018, I-94 in Kenosha County
- July 19, 2013, I-43 in Sheboygan County