If you can see this, you're $355 too close

If you can see this, you're $355 too close

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - The first car hit an Oregon State Police cruiser, ramming the cruiser into a trooper on the side of the road -- and knocking the officer to the ground.

The second rig almost sideswiped a patrol car as the trooper exited on the side of the road. The car crashed into an embankment 150 feet from where the officer stood.

Both drivers were arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, but all motorists need to give state troopers room on Oregon roads.

In the last decade, 700 cops nationwide have been killed at traffic stops.

And in Oregon, the law says "give 'em a brake."

"Common sense would say that we need to slow down and give those people the distance they need to do their jobs," says Lt. Derel Schulz of special operations at the Eugene Police Department.

Oregon's "move over" law was passed in 2004.

It's simple: When you roll up to a police or fire rig with its lights flashing, move over into another lane.

If you can't, slow down, and give the first responders all the room you can.

Given the two close calls last weekend, the state police commander in Lane County worries too many drivers don't get it.

Last weekend's close calls just "illustrates another point," said Lt. Mike Bloom with OSP, "that people aren't slowing down and they're not moving over at the time they should."

Police say if you don't move over into the next lane or slow down to a reasonable speed, you're facing a potential $355 ticket.

Who are the best kinds of motorists in following the move-over law? Lt. Bloom says it's the truckers.
 
"You can see them start moving over in the other lane, probably about half a mile before they even get to your car," he said.

Changes may be coming down the road for the "move over" law. The legislature may expand the law to protect tow trucks and those ODOT emergency response trucks you see at accident scenes.

Lawmakers may also stiffen the law to limit speeds to 5 miles per hour under the posted speed limit to force drivers to slow down.