PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- State Police are beefing up enforcement of a law that requires motorists to move over or slow down for emergency vehicles. In the last six weeks, there have been six accidents where state vehicles were struck during a stop. State Police hope that by reminding drivers of the law, they will prevent more accidents from happening.
One of the most severe crashes happened on the turnpike in York on December 1. According to State Police Spokesperson Steve McCausland, roads were icy and the speed limit had been reduced. Video of the crash has been released.
Trooper Bill Baker was sitting inside his parked cruiser at the scene of an accident when a vehicle lost control and struck the vehicle from behind. He has not yet returned for duty following his injuries.
Last week, cruisers were damaged in Portland, Brewer and north of Lincoln... stopped along the Interstate with their emergency lights on. Back in December, cruisers were hit in York, Manchester, and Sanford. In all, "four troopers were injured," says McCausland.
Trooper Corey Huckins says despite the slippery conditions in York that day, that crash should have been prevented.
"The driver behind him failed to recognized a couple things: number 1 that there was an emergency vehicle up ahead. And number 2, that the roads were slippery," says Huckins. "She didn't realize it until it was too late." The driver was charged with imprudent speed, under the "move-over" law.
According to the statute: The operator of a vehicle passing a stationary authorized emergency vehicle using an emergency light or a stationary wrecker using its authorized lights, with due regard to the safety and traffic conditions, shall:
A. Pass in a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle or wrecker, if possible; or [2007, c. 348, §20 (AMD).]
B. If passing in a nonadjacent lane is impossible or unsafe, pass the emergency vehicle or wrecker at a careful and prudent speed reasonable for passing the authorized emergency vehicle or wrecker safely. [2007, c. 348, §20 (AMD).]
On Thursday morning, State Police issued 3 summonses in fifteen minutes. Each worth a fine of $311.