With National Police Week this month, we wanted to take a moment to talk about highway officer safety. Since 1999, there have been over 200 officers struck and killed while making traffic stops. And according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund (NLEOMF), officer fatalities from traffic-related incidents rose 69%, compared to this time last year:
As we reported last December, occupational injury and fatality rates are more than 2x the national average for emergency responders than workers of all other industries. NLEOMF highlighted one struck-by incident from 2013 in a PSA video:
“On July 13, 2013, Manassass City (VA) Police Officer Heather Musterman’s life and her future changed forever. Musterman had pulled over a vehicle when another driver swerved off the road, striking both her and the other vehicle. The driver was charged with texting while driving, reckless driving, and failure to yield right of way to emergency vehicle.”
At 40 MPH, Officer Musterman’s chance of survival statistically was only 20% – she is very lucky to be alive. Drivers distracted or speeding around traffic stops, accidents, & work zones is not only dangerous – it’s illegal. Despite all 50 states having specific Slow Down Move Over laws, a majority of the public still isn’t aware these laws exist. The law generally states:
“When you see flashing lights on the side of the road, slow down, and if possible, move over one lane away from police, emergency, first responders and roadside assistance.”
We at Optotraffic take officer safety very seriously and will continue to work with law enforcement to reduce these incidents through innovation and education. As a response to the rising number of officers and roadside workers hit, we developed an integrated video-based enforcement system called PatrolSafe™.
PatrolSafe is an enforcement system capable of capturing high-resolution video of vehicles violating Slow Down Move Over laws. Activated by existing emergency equipment, it is ideal for highway traffic enforcement where officer safety is always a concern.
PatrolSafe provides front and rear views enabling complete violation capture and replay. On-board PC processes video to retain and upload only potential violation clips, which are encrypted and wirelessly uploaded to our secure server to be processed through our complete suite of back office support services.
Police, emergency and first responders risk their lives every day on our roads. With PatrolSafe, we can work with local jurisdictions to promote awareness of these laws to increase worker safety and save lives.