LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - After the crash that resulted in the deaths of Lubbock Police Officer Nicholas Reyna and Lubbock Fire Rescue Lieutenant Eric Hill, and left Firefighter Matthew Dawson with critical injuries, representatives from various First Responder organizations across the country are asking drivers across the country to “pay attention and move over.”
A release from the International Association of Fire Chiefs says the greatest traumatic risk to our first responders is getting struck on a roadway.
Firefighters from across the nation are now urging motorists to respect the move over laws and use caution when approaching emergency vehicles on interstates and roads.
Since 2013, the State of Texas has implemented a “move over/slow down” law, saying if drivers see emergency or TxDOT vehicles on the side of the road, motorists must move out of the lane closest to the emergency vehicle when possible or reduce their speed to 20 miles per hour below the posted limit.
If the road does not offer multiple lanes, the driver must slow down. On roadways with posted speed limits of 25 miles per hour or less, drivers must reduce their speed to 5 miles per hour. Violators can be fined up to $2,000.
The move over law apply to all interstates and state highways, and is enforceable by any law enforcement officer.
Fire service and first responder organizations nationwide have provided this resource detailing the protocol for emergency crews on the scene of an incident: 10 Practical Tips for Responding and Operating on Roadway and Highway Incidents.
“Firefighters and first responders urge your heightened awareness and attention so that they can do their jobs - in helping you and your families - without the further risk of being struck on a roadway,” the message states.
The message was provided by these national First Responder organizations:
CVVFA/Emergency Responder Safety Institute, President Allen Baldwin
• Fire Department Safety Officers Association, Chairman Eric Valliere
• International Association of Fire Chiefs, President Gary Ludwig
• International Association of Fire Fighters, General President Harold A. Schaitberger
• International Society of Fire Service Instructors, Executive Director Leigh Hubbard
• Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association (Metro), President Mike Duyck
• National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, Executive Director Ron Siarnicki
• National Volunteer Fire Council, Chairman Steve Hirsch
• United States Fire Administration, U.S. Fire Administrator G. Keith Bryant, USFA-FEMA-DHS