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From the Desk of Chief Dawson

One of the most dangerous acts a police officer can do is stand along a roadway. The acts along the roadway can include traffic stops, traffic control, and working accidents. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, more than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways. To reduce these accidents, Arkansas State Statute 27-51-310 was passed.

Arkansas State Statute 27-51-310 reads as follows:

(a) (1) If an authorized emergency response vehicle or a law enforcement vehicle is parked or stopped at the scene of an emergency or other traffic stop and is displaying a flashing, revolving, or rotating blue, red, or amber and red light, an approaching motor vehicle operator shall move when possible into the farthest lane from the emergency response vehicle or law enforcement vehicle and remain in that lane until past the emergency response vehicle or law enforcement vehicle and any other vehicle involved in the emergency or other traffic stop.

(2) If changing lanes is not possible or is determined to be unsafe, an approaching motor vehicle operator shall reduce the motor vehicle’s speed, proceed with caution, and maintain a reduced speed, appropriate to the road and the conditions, through the area where the authorized emergency response vehicle or law enforcement vehicle is stopped.

(b) (1) (A) Any party who pleads guilty or nolo contendere to or is found guilty of violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than thirty-five dollars ($35.00) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500), confined in the county jail not to exceed ninety (90) days, or both fined and imprisoned.

(B) In addition to the penalties prescribed in subdivision (b)(1)(A) of this section, the court may order community service for not more than seven (7) days and may suspend the person’s driver’s license for a period of not less than ninety (90) days nor more than six (6) months.

A recent poll conducted by Mason Dixon Polling & Research found that 71% of Americans have not heard of “Move Over” laws. A positive note of the study found that 86% of Americans support enacting “Move Over” laws in all 50 states. Additionally, 90% believe traffic stops and roadside emergencies are dangerous for law enforcement and first responders. Of the 77 deaths so far this year, 42 were, in one way or another, related to traffic. The men and women of the Greenwood Police Department ask you to please respect this law and move over or slow down for emergency personnel along the roadway. Help law enforcement officers across the country make it home safely to their families after protecting yours.

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