Police across Massachusetts and New Hampshire have announced they will be increasing their efforts in enforcing the laws requiring drivers to move over when an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road. State police in New Hampshire report about 25 accidents a year in which troopers or their vehicles were struck by other vehicles when stopped at construction details or traffic stops.
The seriousness of this measure needs to be understood by all. This past July 17th 2010 a Massachusetts trooper was sitting in his cruiser after pulling a driver over when he was struck by another motorist. The second motorist who collided with the trooper’s cruiser was cited on DWI charges however police note distracted driving is one of the greatest factors in these accidents.
New Hampshire and Massachusetts police said they are doing their best to educate drivers of the law requiring motorists to move over a lane when an emergency vehicle’s lights are flashing. The state police have also noted they will be enforcing this law with greater diligence. Some drivers have complained it’s difficult to move over a lane due to additional traffic – in these cases the state police have said the motorist should slow down or face a fine.
Trooper Thomas Lencki was able to escape an accident in 2003 where another motorist crashed into the back of his vehicle:
“I noticed an SUV coming into the breakdown lane at a high rate of speed… I was able to move a little bit to protect myself and the woman, and he hit me at about 78 mph, pushed me into the Jersey barrier and then pushed me into her.”
Distracted driving can have grave consequences. If you see an emergency vehicle flashing lights, move over a lane – you may just save a life.
Massachusetts residents along the Shawsheen River wade through back yards
Rainstorms blew overt the Northeastern parts of Massachusetts this weekend flooding roadways and forcing some schools to close. At least nine deaths over the weekend may be attributed to this nasty storm and almost half a million customers were without electricity in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York and Connecticut during the peak of power outages yesterday. Peter Judge, spokesman for the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, told reporters about 6,000 residents across Massachusetts were without power into the late afternoon yesterday.
Peabody, Massachusetts downtown area inundated by the storm’s influx of water is completely shut down. This is not the first time Peabody has experienced sever flooding. About four years ago the entire downtown area was shut down for five days due to flooding. Residents and business owners are crossing their fingers the water quickly moves through the town and does not persist as it did the last time around.
Winds gusted at a peak of 69 miles per hour yesterday as recorded by the Blue Hill Observatory near Milton. Wind speeds reached 54 miles per hour according to the Weather Service at Logan International Airport. In Manchester, New Hampshire yesterday a tree gave into the gusty winds falling onto southbound I-93 killing one and injuring two others.
As the rain continues to pour down on Massachusetts basements and roads continue to flood. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has reportedly closed select highway off ramps. In several places throughout the Northeast trains and subways have been replaced by buses. In the last afternoon yesterday two lanes down Interstate 93 were shut down at the parkway as well as parts of Morrissey Boulevard, Quincy Shorte Drive, and Columbia Road. Sand bags were even laid near Boston’s Frenway park to keep the subway station from flooding.
The first signs of spring and better weather should surface tomorrow with a highs in the 50s.