Governor Markell signs bill to protect emergency responders

    Drivers in Delware now must move over or slow down to protect emergency responders working on the side of the road.

    Drivers in Delaware now face stiff penalties for violating the state’s move over laws when driving past emergency personnel responding to roadside emergencies.

    Delaware Governor Jack Markell was surrounded by members of the Delaware City Fire Company as he signed SB 205 into law.  The tougher penalties stem from the death of Delaware City firefighter Michelle Newton Smith, who was struck and killed while helping victims of an accident in 2008.

    The law requires drivers to move at least one lane away from firefighters, police, EMTs, tow truck operators and others working on the side of the road.  If it’s not possible to move over, the law requires drivers to slow down and use caution.  The new law now classifies the crime of  striking an emergency worker after not moving over as a Class F Felony.

    The Bill’s sponsor state Senator Brian Bushweller (D- Dover) says the law clearly defines what drivers need to do to help protect emergency responders.  “We’ve had too many people over the years injured or in some cases killed while they were responding to accidents or other incidents on our highways  because too many motorists were not paying attention to what’s going on,” Bushweller said.

    To spread the word about the importance of giving emergency workers space on the side of the road, the Delaware City Fire Company along with the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman’s Association have released a 30 second PSA.  The message features first responders from Delaware and will be sent around the country.

    [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6W0gnES7uf8[/youtube]

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.