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Three officers were hit on the side of the road in just a four-day period,
and one of the men was killed. In the face of the accidents, the Georgia
Department of Public Safety has issued a
press release reminding Georgia drivers of the “Move Over” law we have here
in Georgia.

In 2003, the Georgia legislature passed
O.C.G.A. § 40-6-16. For drivers, as well as for car accident lawyers like me, the statute
clarified what a driver should do when faced with a situation where an
emergency vehicle, tow truck or highway maintenance truck is parked along
or on the road. The statute applies when the emergency vehicle, tow truck
or highway maintenance truck has flashing lights on. Under the law, a
driver who is approaching one of these vehicles is supposed to “[m]ake
a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle
if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions.” If the
driver cannot switch lanes, he should slow down below the speed limit
“and be prepared to stop.”

In 2011, legislators renamed the law the “Spencer Pass Law.”
Spencer Pass was a Georgia Department of Transportation HERO worker who was killed
on January 31, 2011. James Davis was driving on the southbound side of
I-85 at Metropolitan Parkway when his truck stalled. His battery died
and he was stuck on the side of the road. Spencer Pass came along to help,
pulling his HERO truck onto the shoulder behind Davis’ car. Pass
was standing in front of Davis’ pickup truck connecting jumper cables
to the battery when a diesel pickup truck towing a trailer hit Pass’
Hero truck. Pass’ vehicle was pushed into the Davis’ pickup.
Davis managed to leap to safety, but Pass, who had been standing in front
of the pickup, was killed. Davis, the dad of three teenagers, was the
first GDOT HERO worker to be killed in the line of duty.

The Georgia Department of Public Safety issued the press release to remind
people of the Spencer Pass law when three Atlanta-area police officers
were hit by cars in just a four-day period as they were performing their
official duties.

On November 9th, a motorist ran into two Carrollton police officers who
were investigating the scene of a pedestrian crash that had occurred earlier.
Just three days later, on November 12th, 2012, another police officer
was killed by a passing motorist. Officer Elgin Daniel, of the Henry County
Police Department, was helping a motorist who had run out of gas on the
side on the road. A hit and run driver ran into McDaniel, and tragically
the Henry County police officer died.

The press release quotes Colonel Mark W. McDonough, Commissioner of the
Georgia Department of Public Safety. McDonough urged: “For the safety
of everyone – first responders, other drivers, victims and towing
personnel – drivers should remain alert while driving and move over
when approaching a flashing emergency light. If you can’t move over,
then slow down well below the posted speed limit and be prepared for a
sudden stop.”