Indiana State police report a startling number of stopped emergency vehicles getting hit

WSBT 22 photo 

Cars can be deadly weapons. Emergency crews know first-hand not only from the tragedies they've responded to, but also accidents they've been involved with themselves.

A staggering number of responder vehicles have been hit in Indiana just over the last 8 months.

That's exactly why the "Move Over, Slow Down" law exists in Indiana.

Here's the breakdown from Indiana State Police:

Since that tweet was sent out, that number has risen just in the last two days!

A tow truck driver was just severely injured by a semi in a hit-and-run crash. He was on the side of the road helping a motorist whose car broke down.

And in Indianapolis during a traffic stop on the side of a busy roadway, a van veered onto the shoulder and a state trooper and two others were struck.

In some cases one accident will lead to a chain reaction of accidents. The Bypass saw a chain reaction of three accidents that shut down the road for two hours Friday night.

If you spot flashing lights, slow down.

“Anything with flashing light, if you can't move over into an adjacent lane because of traffic being heavy then you're supposed to slow down to 10 miles under the speed limit,” said Sgt. Ted Bohner with Indiana State Police. “That's a noticeable difference that that lets us know how you've seen us, you're going to slow down and get by us safely."

Police say distracted driving is the biggest reason these accidents keep happening, and remind motorists to focus on the road.

"The biggest thing the public can do for us to slow down, slow down, slow down and move over. Everyone's not paying attention - texting and driving - whether you're supposed to do it or not we know it happens. They're talking on the phone, loud music, talking to whoever, you know, you're in another world half the time, but you have to pay attention and you have to slow down and move over," says Brian Kazmierzak, Penn Twp. Fire Dept. Chief of Training. "The Bypass, the Toll Road - those places are some of the most dangerous places we respond to. We'll do the high visibility vests, the jackets in addition we always send extra apparatus up there to act as a blocker for us. We would rather them hit the fire truck than to run into the scene and hit us."

Indiana, Michigan the rest of the 50 states in the U.S. have "Move Over Slow Down" laws in place.

"It's a state law in almost every state now and it comes with jail time and it comes with loss of a license. It comes with heavily increased fines. So you know it's not just for the fire service. It's for tow truck drivers, maintenance workers, police officers on traffic stops. We're all very exposed while we're up there on the highway," says Kazmierzak.

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