PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As we enter road construction season, state leaders are reminding drivers of their duty to ensure the safety of police officers and construction workers.
Rhode Island drivers are required by law to change lanes or slow down when first responders, tow trucks, or department of transportation crews are pulled over on the side of the road.
April is Work Zone Awareness Month, and Rhode Island State Police are urging drivers to obey the “Move Over” law that was put into place in 2014.
According to State Police Col. Steven O’Donnell, 77 municipal police cruisers and 63 state cruisers have been hit in the state since 2010, resulting in injuries to 24 police officers and 10 state troopers.
“Move over means if you see lights on the side of the road, any type of emergency vehicle, not just police, your job is to get over into the lane away from the police, which means one lane over, and if for some reason you can’t because of traffic, you’re to slow down substantially to make sure those people are safe,” he explained. “We lost 59 people in five years nationally to motor vehicle accidents at work zones. That goes for construction workers, that goes for people working in labors, just paying attention to that.”
Providence and Cranston police cruisers were hit just last week by a driver who failed to move over.
Last month, veteran Massachusetts State Trooper Thomas Clardy was killed when a Webster man collided with his cruiser on the Mass. Pike in Charlton. Clardy was conducting a traffic stop at the time.
If you’re ticketed for violating the state’s Move Over law the fine is $85. So far this month, state police have issued 125 citations to drivers for violating the law.
Rhode Island’s road construction season runs through the fall.