With thousands of Hoosiers hitting the road to spend Thanksgiving with family and friends this week, I wanted to take a few minutes to remind drivers to use common sense and drive carefully around police and other emergency vehicles on our roadways. Over the past decade, more than 150 police officers have been struck and killed by motorists - the third leading cause of death for law enforcement officers.
Indiana law requires drivers to move over to the left lane or slow down when approaching emergency responder vehicles or face penalties as high as $10,000 per incident.
Although 43 states have "Move Over" laws on their books, most Americans are unaware of them. So last week, I introduced the "Emergency Responders Highway Safety Act" to increase awareness about these laws and help protect our law enforcement officers and other emergency responders. Specifically, the bill would use existing funds to provide competitive grants aimed at increasing awareness about Move Over laws and training emergency workers on how to prevent roadside injuries and fatalities.
In addition, the bill establishes the first comprehensive system to track the number of work-related injuries and deaths of emergency responders to help lawmakers monitor the effectiveness of these and other policies.
As Sheriff, one of my chief responsibilities was keeping our hard-working deputies safe on the job. This legislation is a continuation of those efforts; helping to prevent the senseless injuries and deaths of those who serve and protect our communities. Please drive safely this Thanksgiving.