HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Hampton Roads interstates can be dangerous and potentially deadly for first responders.
In Virginia, when you see a car on the side of a four lane highway with blinking lights, you’re asked to slow down. If you can, you’re asked to move into another lane.
We’ve recently seen a string of incidents involving VDOT workers hit on the side of the road.
On October 18, a driver hit a VDOT worker on I-264 West near Rosemont Road. In that case, the driver was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
According to police, the driver of the car that hit the VDOT vehicle did not follow the “Slow Down, Move Over” law.
Twenty-four hours before, 28-year-old Virginia Mae Woods crashed into a VDOT truck in Chesapeake, and later died from her injuries.
The VDOT worker suffered non life-threatening injuries and was taken to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.
Virginia’s “Slow Down, Move Over” law was expanded in July of this year. Now, you can face a reckless driving charge if you don’t move over for emergency vehicles.
“We’ve noticed a difference (since the law expanded),” said Virginia State Trooper Mark Walden. “There are more people now you can tell are moving over.”
For Walden, this is personal. He was hit during a routine traffic stop in 2008.
“I walked up to the vehicle,” he said. “I explained to the driver why I stopped him, got his license and registration and honestly that’s the last thing I remember until I woke up and saw my camera hanging down, my computer was tipped over. There was a lot of smoke in the vehicle.”
He believes the reason some people break the law is because they don’t know about the law.
“We’ve stopped people, we inform them you know, what they did wrong and first thing that comes out is ‘well, I didn’t know’,” said Walden.
Sergeant Michelle Anaya with Virginia State Police said more than 2,000 citations were issued in 2018 for people who broke the law. Sgt. Anaya said this year’s numbers won’t be available until next year.