Move Over laws are meant to protect, but many drivers aren’t following them

Published: Sep. 8, 2022 at 10:21 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Around the country, there have been terrifying instances of officers being hit on the side of the road.

Illinois State Troopers report that so far this year, 18 of their squad cars have been hit in relation to the Move Over Law in Illinois, and seven Troopers have been hurt.

Experts told News 4 that violations of Move Over Laws are happening more now, than ever. The laws require drivers to adhere to laws meant to protect police officers and other first responders. But St. Louis County Officer Mike Deck said many drivers just don’t.

“There have been several times staying on the driver’s side, I have been brushed by a mirror and its very scary,” said Officer Deck.

He has a constant fear, he said, of being struck on the side of the road.

“I am always thinking, where would I dive in case something happens,” Officer Deck said.

He’s got a right to be worried, according to experts.

Nick Breul with the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund said nationwide, the number of officers hit and killed during traffic-related incidents doubled from 14 in 2020 to 28 in 2021, the highest they’ve ever recorded. At 11 so far this year, the number is on track to be just as high.

Videos from around the country have caught some of the terrifying moments.

“We have to take these tragic cases and use them to remind people that people are being killed when they shouldn’t be,” said Breul.

While all 50 states have Move Over laws, including Missouri and Illinois, Breul said many people don’t follow them.

“It’s a sad statement on how people approach driving,” Breul said.

“Why do you think people are unaware or just ignoring that law?” asked Chief Investigative Reporter Lauren Trager. “I think there definitely is an issue with awareness,” answered Breul.

That’s why, on a recent sunny day on Interstate 70, News 4 hopped inside a St. Louis County cruiser, to see violations of the Move Over Law, first-hand.

“You shouldn’t have to worry about a traffic stop where someone is speeding and that’s the end of your life,” said Sgt. Joya Jordan.

Sgt. Jordan and our crew sat with lights on while Officer Deck parked in front of us.

Missouri’s Move Over law requires drivers to change lanes, if safe to do so when approaching any MoDOT, law enforcement or emergency vehicle with lights flashing. If you can’t change lanes safely, you must slow down as you pass the emergency vehicle.

Officer Deck stops to watch, and in less than a minute, is chasing down a violator of the Move Over law. One after the other, News 4 cameras captured cars flying by the blue lights, not attempting to slow down.

Deck pulled over quite a few drivers. When he does so, he approaches the cars from the passenger side, not the driver’s side.

“I no longer feel safe on that driver’s side, I usually cringe on that passenger side,” he said.

With a family to go home to, he said that reminding people of the law could save lives.

“These cars are moving 70-80 miles an hour and even a mirror at that speed, could really put you down,” Officer Deck said.

He said reminding people of the law could save lives. One driver told News 4 she just wasn’t aware of the law.

“I appreciate you being so kind and explaining it to me,” said the driver.

Officer Deck gave out breaks this time, with the hope that horrifying crashes can be avoided in the future.

St. Louis County Police wrote 35 tickets for Move Over violations in 2021 and so far, this year, have written 21 tickets.