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Tragedy on Beltway Sheds Light on Issue of Highway Worker Safety

By Alpert Schreyer on November 26, 2013

Officials in Maryland are focusing on the important issue of highway worker safety after two men were killed on the Beltway earlier this month. According to a CBS news report, the incident killed a 50-year-old man and a 38-year-old man, one a veteran employee with the State Highway Administration and the other a fairly new addition to the department. The two state highway workers were repairing a sign when a Volvo suddenly left the road, striking and killing one of the men. The other worker was transported to a trauma center where he died.

Maryland officials are reminding drivers to slow down and stay alert any time they approach an area where people are working. They say this is a tragic accident that could have been prevented. State police officials say the workers in this case did everything right and qualified under the state’s “Move Over law.”

Maryland’s Move Over Law requires motorists approaching from the rear of an emergency vehicle to make a lane change to an available lane, not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle. This movement should only be done if another lane in the same direction is available and the move can be made safely and without impeding other traffic.

If moving to another lane away from the stopped emergency vehicle is not possible, the law requires drivers to “slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.” The purpose of this law is to provide an extra barrier of safety for police officers, firefighters, and emergency rescue personnel working along Maryland roads.

Injured workers in Maryland and families that have lost loved ones on the job would be well advised to contact an experienced Maryland workers’ compensation lawyer who will help protect their legal rights. In addition to workers’ compensation benefits, injured workers and their families may also be able to file third-party claims, depending on the circumstances of the incident.

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