OSP reminding drivers to move over

OSP reminding drivers to move over »Play Video
Most people would never shoot a gun at a police officer -- but many do something even more dangerous while driving down the highway, and don't even know they're breaking the law.

Oregon's Move Over law went into effect in 2004. It requires drivers on multiple lane roads to move an extra lane away from the shoulder to provide a safety buffer for emergency crews. If a lane change isn't possible or you're on a road with a single lane in one direction, you still have to slow down.

Problem is, a lot of motorists aren't obeying the law, So Wednesday, the Eugene Police Department set up a day of "targeted enforcement" to get their point across.

Forget the bank robberies and hostage situations. Standing by the roadside is the most dangerous thing an officer does.

"In the past 10 years there have been 700 officers killed on traffic stops", said Officer Scott Dillon of the Eugene Police Department.

The "move over" law's been around since 2004. And yet it takes almost no time at all for motorcycle cops to pull over drivers who failed to yield to their buddy up the road.

Traffic cops die when drivers swerve to the shoulder.

But they also die when they're forced to use your lane to escape a dangerous situation.

"I think typically the public thinks it's a typical traffic stop and we're giving someone a ticket. What they don't know and we don't know is this could be someone armed who just robbed a bank", said Sgt. Derel Schulz of the Eugene Police Department.

It's a common sense rule.

Right now it on applies only to official emergency vehicles.

But the same consideration could also make the job a little safer for tow truck drivers,

Truck operator Doug Cisco states, "There's many times I've been on I-5. Trucks, cars don't give us a lane to do our work. Makes it dangerous for us".

When you stop and think about it, what's good for emergency vehicles is good for everyone. Imagine you're right here changing a spare tire. Tell you what, I'd sure appreciate if they gave me the open lane."

Some laws are confusing, but this one's easy to remember.

If you pass while clearing a stop you're required to allow at least one buffer lane. If you're not able to do that, you need to slow down.

Break that law and you could face a $237 dollar fine. Worse than that, you could kill a police officer.

Eugene police say they issued 18 citations Wednesday, for failing to keep a safe distance from an emergency vehicle.

Similar "targeted enforcement" activities can be expected all over the state in the months ahead.