Caltrans launched a new public safety campaign Monday to protect highway crews in response to the deaths of three workers since May.
For the "Move Over It's The Law" campaign, over 700 electronic highway signs with flashing lights will be used to warn motorists to slow down and move over a lane when they see Caltrans and other roadside workers, according to Caltrans officials.
"This would be applicable to emergency response, law enforcement, or Caltrans when they have their amber light flashing. The law requires them to slow down and move over if it's safe to do so," said acting Caltrans director Malcolm Dougherty.
The Move Over law took effect in 2007 and was amended in 2009 to add Caltrans vehicles displaying flashing amber warning lights, according to Caltrans.
"This is a bill that really enforces safety and gives those personnel a little more breathing room," said Dougherty.
The campaign will also employ billboards, televised public service announcements, and Internet outreach on sites like Facebook and Twitter.
The campaign is part of a collaboration between the Office of Traffic Safety, California Highway Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles.
The California Highway Patrol will report the Move Over message during morning traffic updates, and officers will be vigilant in looking for motorists breaking the law, according to Caltrans.
The public outreach campaign comes as a response to the deaths of three Caltrans employees by oncoming traffic since May.
On May 4, Stephen Palmer was killed in the San Diego area; on June 7 Jaime Obeso was killed in Imperial Valley, and Richard Gonzalez was killed on June 20, also in the San Diego area.
Doughtery said that the succession of fatal accidents led Caltrans to examine its internal policies and procedures to increase safety, but also wanted to reach out to the public. "We also wanted to take the time to educate the public because they have a direct effect on our safety," he said.
--Bay City News