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‘Move over’ law gives Caltrans the right to rule the road

POSTED October 27, 2009 11:13 p.m.
A new law allows Caltrans vehicles to have the same priority as ambulances, police officers and firetrucks with a flash of a light.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 240 which adds Caltrans vehicles displaying flashing amber warning lights to the list of vehicles for which motorists must slow down and, if safe, move over to a lane not immediately adjacent to the stationary vehicle, according to a press release.
“This protects the safety of our workers,” said Caltrans Director Randy Iwasaki. “Highway workers face the same dangers from fast moving traffic as emergency personnel and tow-truck operators. We appreciate the leadership and recognition of the legislature and governor for the need to provide a safer working environment for our employees.”
This bill would prohibit a stationary Department of Transportation vehicle from displaying flashing amber warning lights on a freeway, except when an unusual traffic hazard or extreme hazard exists, according to Senate Bill 240.
A violation of Senate Bill 240 is an infraction, by a fine of not more than $50.
Since 1924, there have been 174 Caltrans workers that have lost their lives in the line of duty, according to a press release. In July, Caltrans worker Don Lichliter was struck and fatally injured by a passing truck on Highway 99 in Lodi. He was applying a fertilizer treatment to keep eucalyptus tress healthy. His truck was parked on the shoulder of the highway when he was struck.
As of now, there are 45 other states with this same law requiring motorists to move over or slow down when a highway vehicle has the flashing lights on.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.  

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