A Howard County police officer, a person he had in custody and a driver who hit them were hospitalized Jan. 22 in Mt. Airy.
That was just one of the collisions that has occurred when motorists don't obey the state's "Move Over Law," which went into effect Oct. 1, 2010, requiring drivers to move over, or at least slow down, if they come across emergency vehicles.
"Clearly, we believe there is a need to boost awareness for this law," said Superintendent Col. Marcus Brown, who mentioned several other incidents in which Maryland troopers were injured after being struck by motorists.
Brown joined emergency responders at a March 21 news conference in to remind people about the law.
Howard County Chief of Police William McMahon also spoke, noting that motorists can show their appreciation for emergency responders through compliance with the law. In addition, he asked for the same courtesy for other workers.
"Even though the law does not cover our friends at [State Highway Administration] and public works who are out there in a very dangerous position," said McMahon, "we need...our driving community to move over for them as well."
Brown, who is designating May as Move Over Month, unveiled a new bumper sticker that will be used on police, fire and other vehicles. The sticker, supplied by the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF), states: "If I'm on the Shoulder, Slow Down, Move Over. It's the Law."
Traffic-related incidents were the leading cause of law enforcement fatalities over the last decade in the United States, said Kent Krabbe, MAIF executive director.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, since 1999, more than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed after being struck by vehicles along America's highways.