For Washington State Patrol (WSP) Troopers, the highway serves as an office.  On April 14, 2017, a WSP cruiser was struck along the highway injuring the trooper. In this case, the trooper was in the middle of a traffic stop along Interstate five near Fife when he was injured and transported to a nearby hospital for neck and back pain as well as facial lacerations.

“Each and every time we turn on our lights and get out of the car, we know we are stepping into potential danger from our fellow motorists passing by,” says WSP Field Operations Captain Tim Coley.” Tragically, last year, 15 officers around the country were killed after being struck by a vehicle.”

According to preliminary investigative reports, the driver of the car was driving drowsy, which may be a contributing factor to the collision. This incident puts a spotlight on the dangerous reality that some drivers aren’t paying attention while on the road. This behavior puts other drivers and trooper’s lives at risk. This collision, along with 29 other patrol cars hit just last year, were all preventable.

“Don’t let distractions, drowsiness, or impairment lead to the injury or death of your fellow Washingtonians, especially those out trying to make your journey safer,” says Captain Coley.

According to the “Move Over” law, RCW 46.61.212, drivers approaching an emergency zone are required to either move over to another lane in the same direction, if it is safe to do so, or if a driver is unable to move over safely, proceed with caution and reduce the speed of their vehicle. Emergency vehicles are defined as police cruisers, fire vehicles, medical units, tow trucks and vehicles providing roadside assistance which make use of hazard lights.

“Our request of the public is simple: stay alert and stay safe,” says Captain Coley. “Just like you, we travel the roadways every day with the goal of making them safer so we can all get back home.”