By Sara B. Hansen / NewsBreak Denver
(COLORADO) Despite Colorado's Slow Down Move Over Law, six drivers struck crash responder vehicles from Dec. 25 through Dec. 27 on Interstate 70.
In five of the six crashes, passing vehicles stuck the first responders' vehicles investigating other crashes.
"Road conditions can change in an instant, and drivers need to be prepared to stop or navigate difficult conditions," said Colorado State Patrol Col. Matthew C. Packard.
Crashes can be deadly
"Last year troopers around the state cited 482 drives for violations related to tire and chain restrictions for vehicles of all types on our roadways. If you fail to prepare your vehicle properly, the crash you cause may not stop at property damage – it may take a life."
As of Dec. 22, the Emergency Responder Safety Institute reports 63 first responders have died nationally after being struck while working. Of those killed, 28 were law enforcement officers, and 22 were tow truck operators.
Fortunately, Packard said that the troopers and a Colorado Department of Transportation worker involved in the Colorado crashes returned home safely.
"We know how lucky this truly is, and we know that the next crash may not have the same outcome. Slow down in snow and icy conditions and for goodness sake, move over if you see roadside workers," Packard said.
The six crashes:
- Dec. 25: A passenger van struck a CDOT plow after the driver stopped to help direct traffic on I-70 near milepost 53. The van driver lost control of the vehicle on the icy highway.
- Dec. 25: A trooper was investigating a crash on I-70 near milepost 56 when a passing motorist who slid out of control struck his patrol car.
- Dec. 26: The driver of a Dodge caravan struck the rear corner of a patrol car after the trooper stopped on I-70 to protect towing operations that required a lane closure.
- Dec. 26: The driver of a vehicle with improper tires for icy conditions lost control and struck the back of a patrol car after the trooper stopped at a crash scene on I-70 in Glenwood Canyon.
- Dec. 27: A driver trying to avoid the crashed car in Glenwood Canyon instead struck the vehicle and pushed it into a CSP hazmat vehicle.
- Dec. 27: The driver of a Dodge Ram spun out of control and struck the side of a patrol hazmat vehicle while the trooper was investigating a crash. The pickup driver then fled the scene.
Be prepared for snow and ice
The patrol urges drivers traveling on I-70 to watch weather forecasts and be sure their vehicles are prepared for snow and ice. Under Colorado's chain law, all vehicles must have adequate tires and equipment for winter driving in Colorado.
The Colorado Department of Transportation notifies the public when chain law restrictions are in place using static and electronic message roadway signs. CDOT announces chain law restrictions using 511 traveler information roadside signs, the CDOT travel website, and media outlets.
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