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Police, tow trucks need 'move over' law [Letter]

As a retired member of the law enforcement community, I am glad to see the article regarding tow trucks and the move-over law in The Sun ("Proposed 'move-over' law would apply to tow trucks March 24). Most people have no idea whatsoever of the dangers involved in being a state trooper on any of the major highway systems in this nation. It is a fact that most of our troopers who are killed or severely injured were struck while handling various problems on the shoulder of one of those highways.

In Maryland, we are "blessed" with a major portion of one of the most-dangerous interstate highways on the East Coast and quite possibly the nation. That would be Interstate 95, particularly the stretch between the Maryland House rest stop and Washington, D.C. Anyone who has driven this road knows that the posted speed limit is totally ignored and vehicles obeying that limit are passed quite often as if they were sitting still! The old rule of thumb, which is to leave one vehicle length for every ten miles per hour of speed between vehicles, is also ignored. Anyone who traverses that road knows that when they slow down to get some distance between them and the vehicle ahead, another vehicle immediately fills that space.

Because of that, vehicles traveling at 70 miles per hour (most of the time considerably faster than that) have little to no chance of stopping without colliding with the vehicle in front of them. If you have ever had the misfortune of breaking down on I-95, you know just how scary that experience may be. Even while "safely" on the shoulder, those vehicles speeding by are very intimidating. And when it is time to pull back out into that traffic, well, that is another experience altogether!

As a retired Baltimore City police officer, I quite often kid with my friends who are Maryland State Troopers about them being "traffic cops." In reality, I wouldn't want their job. There is no way that I would pull someone over on I-95 unless there were a very real and immediate necessity to do so! These troopers deserve our respect but even more importantly, they deserve our cooperation in doing, to the extent that we can, everything to help to inure their safety while they are performing a very dangerous service.

This "slow down and move over" law is justified and warranted. Drivers must also be aware that those maneuvers, at the rates of speed of which I am speaking, in themselves are potentially dangerous as the driver on your tail may not be so inclined.

Robert L. DiStefano, Abingdon

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Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
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