|Utah Highway Patrol troopers monitor traffic along U.S. Highway 6 for compliance with the state's move over law last Friday. The state statute requires motorists traveling on four-lane roadways across Utah to reduce speeds and move over as far as possible for emergency vehicles.|
Utah Highway Patrol troopers in Carbon County are more vigorously enforcing the state's move over law.
Specifically, the law enforcement officers are watching four-lane sections of U.S. Highway 6 between Wellington and Helper.
The law requires vehicles to give caution to emergency vehicles with flashers.
Drivers are required to slow down and move as far over in their lane of travel as possible.
When there are two lanes of traffic in one direction, drivers must move over when possible, leaving the lane closest to the emergency vehicle empty.
The mandate applies to sections of road such as U.S. 6 between Price and Wellington, between Price and Helper and all of the passing lanes on the highway through Price and Spanish Fork canyons.
On a divided highway, if vehicles are stopped on the median, drivers should move to the outside lanes.
If vehicles stop on the shoulder, drivers should move to the inside lanes.
According to a briefing by UHP Col. Richard Greenwood, at least five UHP troopers have been hit statewide since the beginning of the year.
"We've been fortunate that we haven't had anyone hit down here," said Trooper Jason Marshall.
When the state statute was introduced in 2002, local news stations carried reports on the change in Utah's traffic laws and informed viewers of the dangers posed to emergency workers and stationary vehicles.
"A lot of people say they saw the reports, but some say they never knew it was a law," said Marshall.
Marshall explained that the law also applies to other vehicles with flashers who are assisting in a stop, such as ambulances, fire trucks, department of transportation vehicles and wreckers.
When the Sun Advocate rode along with Marshall last Friday, the general lack of compliance by motorists traveling on roads in Carbon County became apparent.
After Marshall stopped one driver for allegedly following too closely, nine vehicles passed the patrol car and the stopped driver.
Troopers work in tandem to enforce the move over law. When Trooper Daniel Allen stopped a car for a plate violation, Marshall pulled up behind the Daniel's vehicle, and pointed the camera mounted in his patrol car out into traffic and turned on his rear speed detector and began looking for violators.
The law is written in such a way that if it is not safe or practical to move over, drivers must only slow down. However, that distinction must be made in court, and troopers are recording violations.
Marshall explained that since troopers are video-taping, if violators try to contest the citation, they can show the violation in court as evidence that it did occur.
As soon as the Marshall stopped, two drivers passed in the lane next to the stopped cars. After a third car failed to move over or slow down, Kelly moved out into traffic to stop the driver.
The driver of the vehicle responded to Marshall's explanation of the alleged violation claiming that they did move over. Marshall recognized that the driver had moved over for the second and third troopers he passed, but had not moved over for the first set of stopped cars.
At that stop, another 12 vehicles passed without slowing down or moving over. Two of those were recreational vehicles.
"If I had been standing out there, one of those drivers would have hit me. That's why I usually approach vehicles from the passenger side," said Marshall.
In February during a crew project, troopers stopped 42 vehicles in a three-hour period. Of those, 28 were move over violations.