JEFFERSON CITY, Mo (KMOV.com) – For the Missouri Department of Transportation employees who spend their days on state highways, work just got a little safer.
Governor Jay Nixon signed Senate Bill 611 into law on Monday, July 9, which expands the 2002 “Slow Down and Move Over” law that protects law enforcement and emergency response vehicles parked on the side of the road.
The new law, which takes effect Aug. 28, requires motorists to slow down or change lanes when approaching these vehicles, and now also includes MoDOT vehicles parked with amber and white lights flashing.
“We are committed to the safety of all Missourians and our MoDOT workforce,” said MoDOT Director Kevin Keith. “I am grateful to the Governor and Missouri Legislature for recognizing the importance of protecting MoDOT workers in the same way as the Highway Patrol and other emergency responders.”
According to Keith, with the drastic drop in MoDOT’s construction budget, the department is virtually in a maintenance-only mode. That makes the work MoDOT maintenance forces perform more important than ever as the department attempts to take care of Missouri’s existing system of highways and bridges.
“About 2,400 MoDOT employees work on Missouri highways every day, often in high-volume traffic,” said MoDOT State Maintenance Engineer Beth Wright. “Their number-one priority is to work safely, and we appreciate every effort to help get them home safely every day.”
Passage of the law was the Missouri Highways and Transportation Commission’s highest priority during the 2012 legislative session. Since 2000, four MoDOT employees have been killed on the job. Coincidentally, MoDOT and the Transportation Employees Association of Missouri will dedicate a new memorial for fallen MoDOT workers at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, July 16.
The memorial is located on the Capitol grounds, near MoDOT’s Central Office building in Jefferson City. The memorial is a tribute to the 128 employees who have been killed in the line of duty since 1946, and was completely funded with private donations.