'Move Over' legislation for state Transportation Department vehicles awaits Gov. Jay Nixon's signature

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 5:53 p.m. CDT

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri motorists could need to move over and give some additional space to state Transportation Department vehicles that are stopped along the road.

State law requires motorists, if they can do so safely, to change lanes and yield for stopped emergency vehicles such as police cars, ambulances, tow trucks and utility vehicles doing emergency work. Newly approved legislation, if signed into law, would also require drivers to move over for stopped Missouri Department of Transportation vehicles with amber or white lights.

Transportation officials praised the measure Monday and said it would help protect those who must work close to fast-moving traffic. Gov. Jay Nixon is considering whether to sign the legislation into law after lawmakers gave it final approval during their annual session that wrapped up last week.

"We're delighted the move over law has passed," said Beth Wright, the state maintenance engineer for the department.

Expanding the "move over" law to cover department vehicles was among the year's legislative priorities for the Missouri Highway and Transportation Commission.

Wright said there are 2,400 transportation employees who work each day near roadways. Since 2000, four workers have been killed on the job after being struck by vehicles. This spring, crash cushions mounted on work trucks have been struck six times.

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