When the weather turns ferocious, as it did in the Mid-Atlantic region this past week, most of us have the option of leaving our cars at home and staying off the roads. But not the men and women of law enforcement.
Case in point: the dedicated troopers of the Virginia State Police. As most parts of the Commonwealth were getting pummeled by close to three feet of snow in back-to-back blizzards, Virginia’s troopers were out in force, risking their own lives to ensure the safety of those who had decided to venture out.
During the first storm, from Friday, February 5, through Sunday, February 7, Virginia State Police emergency dispatchers logged more than 5,200 calls for service. Troopers statewide responded to 1,921 traffic crashes and 2,098 disabled vehicles over the three-day period. And during Mother Nature’s second blast, from Tuesday morning, February 9, through Thursday morning, February 11, troopers responded to another 732 traffic crashes, with more than 100 of them involving injuries.
This heroic level of service did not come without some sacrifice, however. Since the weekend, 11 troopers have been struck by out-of-control vehicles, and four have suffered minor injuries, according to Sergeant Thomas Molnar, a State Police spokesman. He said several other troopers were injured in other weather-related incidents. It is almost miraculous that no troopers were more seriously injured or killed during this historic weather event.
Such statistics serve as a reminder to all motorists, especially those driving in treacherous weather: slow down and watch out for law enforcement and other emergency vehicles on our roadways. It’s not only common sense; it’s also the law in Virginia and 46 other states that have adopted “Move Over” statutes.
Day in and day out – regardless of weather conditions or other challenges – the men and women of law enforcement do amazing things for the safety and protection of others. In times like these, all of us owe these heroes two things: 1) our deep gratitude and 2) our commitment to watch out for them while we’re driving, so our officers can get home safely as well.
Learn more about what you can do to keep officers safe on our roadways by visiting the NLEOMF Drive Safely website.