COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Nearly 30 law-enforcement agencies across the state teamed up in a visibility and educational campaign Wednesday to make drivers more aware of the Move Over Law.
The law requires drivers to change lanes or slow down when approaching emergency vehicles with flashing lights that are pulled over on streets, roads and highways.
In November 2015 and 2016, two Colorado State Patrol troopers were killed along Interstate 25 in the Castle Rock area by drivers who failed to obey the law, even after the law took effect in July 2015.
"We've discovered that throughout this process, and with crashes, that the public really didn't know this is even a law," said Sgt. Megan Richards of the Fremont County Sheriff's Office. "So the goal for the Move Over operation is to educate."
Authorities said the law is designed to save lives by protecting officers, construction workers and drivers. Traffic fatalities have risen from 488 in 2014 to 607 last year.
"But I still think the law is working," said Daniel Calhoun, a FCSO deputy. "I'm seeing fewer violations. That's why we try to avoid actually citing drivers during these campaigns. We prefer to educate them. But violations still happen. While talking with one driver, I saw three others failing to move over. During a campaign like this, we have extra resources to pull over some of the violators, but it's harder on a normal day."
Violators can be fined $177 and lose four points off their license.
In a similar campaign last month, 585 of 900 drivers stopped were found to be in violation of the law.
"We cited two of 99 drivers stopped," Richards said. "As of noon today, we stopped maybe a few dozen people and issued no citations."
Two of the drivers stopped in Fremont County were from outside Colorado.
"I was nervous about not knowing where an exit was, so I moved over a little bit but I know I did not move over enough," said Debbie Newton, from Kansas.
"We were just talking about how I wouldn't mind being pulled over because I haven't been legit in a while," said Andrew Puckett, from Oklahoma. "So I guess I kind of willed that into happening today."
Local participating agencies are the Colorado State Patrol, Cañon City Police Department, Castle Rock Police Department, Fremont County Sheriff's Office, Florence Police Department, Douglas County Sheriff's Office, Park County Sheriff's Office, Teller County Sheriff's Office, Peterson Air Force Base Security Forces and the Woodland Park Police Department.