A Trooper’s Take From The Side of The Road
By Master Trooper Gary Cutler
On November 26th, 2016 my friend Trooper Cody Donahue was killed by a truck that failed to move over while he was investigating a crash. This is a story we hear all too often.
Prior to that crash, there was a Move Over law already in effect. So why didn’t it work in that situation or countless others? I believe there are several reasons for that. Fully knowing the law is one of them; the other is not paying attention to your surroundings.
The Move Over law is set up to assist law enforcement, fire and ambulance crews, maintenance workers and tow truck operators to be able to be safer when they are performing their duties on the side of the road.
I have always been a huge advocate of not just looking out for emergency workers, but including anyone you see on the side of the road. Whether they are changing a tire, taking a break, or just making a call, (thank you for that by the way.)
When are you required to move over? Anytime you see any in that first list of people. The move over law requires drivers to either move over or slow down. Simply put, Move Overrequires the driver to move one lane away, giving a buffer lane between you and emergency workers on the shoulder or roadway.
When moving over is not available as an option, then you are required to slow down when going by emergency workers. One problem with that has been drivers not understanding what speed they should go when in these situations. New legislation this year added a defined speed which I think will help curb this problem. The new addition to the law simply states if you are going 45 MPH or faster you should lower your speed by 20 MPH. If the speed limit is less than 45 MPH, then you are required to slow to 25 MPH.
With an actual speed listed for these situations, it should take that guesswork out of what to do and hopefully, make it much safer for everyone involved. These speeds also need to take into consideration any other factors that may require the speed to be even lower.
In a lot of rural areas, you won’t have two lanes going in the same direction very often, so it will come down to complying by lowering your speed.
I also want to touch on the subject of being prepared when you get to an emergency worker on the side of the road. A lot of people wait until the last moment to either move over, or slow down. If this isn’t done far enough in advance, it can become a hazard within itself. Make sure you are looking beyond your hood. This means always be scanning for hazards. If you see something ahead on the shoulder, start to begin speed or moving lanes prior to getting there so it doesn’t have to be a quick brake, or lane change. This will give others behind you a chance to react and less of a chance of a secondary crash.
As always, safe travels!
UPDATE: US 24 Leadville Overlay & ADA Ramps
On Friday, July 17 the Colorado Department of Transportation released the following update concerning the downtown sidewalk construction project.
Leadville’s New Look: 70% of Curb Ramps Completed
As you walk around Leadville, you cannot help but notice the improvements taking shape. Intersections are being upgraded with curb ramps for greater accessibility. To date, 70 percent of the curb ramps have been completed. There’s a new signal at 6th Street and Harrison, which is now fully functioning and was completed more speedily than anticipated thanks to an early arrival of supplies. And, crews are working hard on installing brick pavers.
As we move into the coming weeks, our team will continue focusing on demolishing and reconstructing curb ramps and gutters, a main goal of the construction project. The next phase, slated for early September, is the milling and paving of US Highway 24.
We thank you once again for being patient with our construction efforts and continuing to adhere to our safety measures.
The Heat is On Along The Highways
Summer Strikeout DUI Underway
Summer plans may be different this year with many large gatherings canceled, however, law enforcement will still be on the lookout for motorists who choose to drive impaired. To keep our roads safe, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado State Patrol (CSP) and local law enforcement agencies will conduct the Summer Strikeout heightened DUI enforcement period from July 17-27. Last year, law enforcement agencies arrested 490 motorists for DUI during the same enforcement period.
“CDOT’s top priority is to keep motorists safe from harm,” said Shoshana Lew, executive director of CDOT. “This enforcement period is a good reminder to folks that consuming any amount of alcohol can impair their ability to get behind the wheel. Drivers should always plan for a sober ride home.”
DUI enforcement periods can include sobriety checkpoints, saturation patrols, and additional law enforcement on duty dedicated to impaired driving enforcement. More details about the campaign, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips can be found at at HeatIsOnColorado.com.
“We anticipate more drivers will be getting out to spend time in small groups with family and friends, participate in outdoor activities, and patronize local businesses this summer,” said Colonel Matthew Packard, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol. “Drivers must make the choice to never drive impaired. Summertime means more vehicles on the roads and we want everyone to arrive safely at their destination.”
Over the recent Fourth of July enforcement period, which ran from July 2-6, 171 impaired motorists were arrested — a decrease from the 311 arrests made during the same period last year. A total of 93 agencies participated in the five-day enforcement period, with the Colorado Springs Police Department (22 arrests), Denver Police Department (13 arrests), and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office (13 arrests) recording the highest number of arrests. CSP recorded 23 arrests. Results for all law enforcement agencies across the state can be found on the CDOT website HERE.
As part this year’s The Heat Is On campaign, CDOT has partnered again with BACtrack, a leading personal and professional breathalyzer company, to urge Coloradans to check their blood-alcohol content (BAC) to confirm they are sober before they drive. Through the partnership, BACtrack Mobile Pro, Trace Pro, C8, and C6 breathalyzers will be offered at a 50% discount for Colorado residents until Sept. 15, or while supplies last. Residents can visit codot.bactrack.com to place an order. For more information about previous CDOT and BACtrack breathalyzer campaigns, visit heatisoncolorado.com.
For more information on CDOT’s efforts this summer, including impaired driving enforcement plans, arrest totals and safety tips, visit the CDOT website.