After a series of crashes with disabled vehicles, including Connecticut State Police Cruisers on the side of the road, there’s a new effort in the Connecticut Capitol to expand and strengthen penalties for moving over on major roads.
The proposals range from extending protections to volunteer first responders, increasing penalties like fines, and expanding the existing statute to stranded drivers on the side of the road.
“People really need to start using some common sense,” said Rep. Tony Guerrera, the Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “It’s almost like we need a new educational piece to get the word out.”
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Currently, all drivers have to move over and slow down for construction workers and emergency responders assisting motorists on the side of the road.
Rep. Kevin Ryan has proposed extending those protections to stranded drivers who haven’t yet been responded to by police or other emergency personnel.
He recognizes it would be a major adjustment, and even difficult to enforce on some of the state’s older, more narrow highways.
“I know it’s sort of a difficult thing for us to do in this state with some of our two lane highways but that’s probably even more of a reason for the law because of some of these areas that are very narrow and you don’t want people to get hurt when they’re on the side of the road,” Rep. Ryan said.
Rep. Ryan said he would open to some kind of compromise, perhaps limiting the new law to major highways where it could be enforced.
“I think it’s something we could look at for some of the major highways that are two or three lanes like 84, where it might not be an issue to pull over safely and be able to do that and still leave the people on the right hand side of the road in a safe position.”