Responsible Risk Management And The Move Over Law
Why Not Start on the Right ?
I had planned on writing a nice vanilla flavored Safety article, which would have caught the attention of the average small to mid-sized business owner; but something happened in late December which changed my plans.
While driving Westbound on our beloved Highway 64, I was stopped by a State Trooper. It could have been a bad day but it wasn’t. Hard to believe, but I only got a warning.
I feel duty bound to share the violation I may have committed, so I can help fellow Carolinians avoid this infraction. The Officer called it “the move over law.”
Basically if you are on a four lane road or an interstate and you see an emergency vehicle with lights flashing on the side of the road, you must move one lane to the left, provided you can do so safely. By doing so, the Troopers won’t have car going past them in close proximity.
Okay, I can see a thread of logic here but let’s look at this from an occupational safety standpoint. Ask the question, whose responsibility is it to make an employee safe? Is it the organization? In this case the State Police of N.C. Is it the individual employee’s responsibility? In this case each individual State Trooper. Last choice, would it be the responsibility of the general public, cruising down the road?
From a Safety Management stand point, each employee must take responsibility for protecting himself.
From an OSHA legal standpoint, the employer must provide a work place free of recognizable hazards and have a safety plan. The employee shall follow the safety practices that are part of the employer’s safety plan.
The Trooper shared with me that the law was enacted to make things safer for the Troopers, when they stop a vehicle by the side of the road. I shared with the Officer, that I was a safety professional and that I took safety very seriously. After all, there are only 400 Certified Safety Professionals, in North Carolina, and I am proud to be one of these few.
I asked him why he did not approach my vehicle from the right side of the car. By doing so, he would be about six feet further from the roadway. He told me that you can smell alcohol on a driver’s breath from the left side of the car.
Okay, that seems sensible but still, why not start from the passenger side. Most stops do not involve the suspicion of drunk driving.
Here is an open question to anyone in law enforcement, if it is so important that we have a “move over law, “ why don’t we also require our Officers to start his traffic stops from the passenger side of the vehicle?
In closing, Troopers would be further from the zone of traffic and they would have the full view of both hands of the driver being pulled over, not just that drives right hand.
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