One fairly shudders to think what would have happened to Brian Bammert, a Minnesota State Patrol trooper, had he not apparently been built like a truck.
Thirty-eight state troopers have been hit by cars since December. Two of them are Trpr. Bammert. He was hit by a car a couple of weeks ago. Bammert, 30, of Golden Valley was also hurt in last February's snowstorm when he was hit in the leg by a car that had lost control on the ice at I-394 and Penn.
A year ago, about 14 state troopers were hit during the winter months. This year it's close to 40.
On Thursday, the State Patrol in the St. Cloud area will hold a crackdown on people who don't move over -- or slow down -- for emergency vehicles on the side of the road.
(Photo: Minnesota State Patrol)
I see people failing to move over for emergency vehicle so often that I have to wonder if they even know that what they're doing is illegal. Sadly, more times than not, those who fail to move are yapping on their cell phones. That alone surely provides ammo for the “cell phone ban while driving” crowd.
Banning cell phones while driving is only one symptom of a much larger problem...
The roads are perceived as safe... our cars are perceived as safe... paying absolute attention to the road is clearly not necessary...
The theory goes "I drive a car with anti-lock brakes and air bags, and there fore I can be less attentive to the road." it works about as well as the "I have four wheel drive and am in a SUV therefore I can drive faster on icy roads." Which any one driving down any Minnesota road after the first or second good snow can tell you doesn't work out so well for those SUV's...
I'm not saying anti-lock brakes and seat belts aren't a good thing (the first saved me from an accident, and the second likely saved my life.) but people just don't pay attention to the road.
for that matter I think people just fail at paying attention to anything any more... Go watch a modern movie, see how many times they re-explain the same thing over and over again... heck for that matter how many times the same scene or portions of the same scene are played over and over again. The public has multi-tasked them selves to a state of never doing anything well and paying only partial (if even) attention to anything...
I've had a commercial drivers license for 3 years now and its amazing how much more carefully you drive when your job depends on your drivers license (no more "couple beers, I'm probably under the limit" driving among other things).
I feel like I'm often the only car that moves over for squad cars and I can't believe troopers don't pull more people over for that. They should set up a mock pulled over car and just start pulling people over when they don't yield. After all, not moving over for pulled over troopers is likely more dangerous than lower rates of speeding.
I lived for five years in a jurisdiction that had stiff penalties for failing to slow to 40mph and moving over for emergency vehicles. Everyone, and I mean everyone, slowed and moved over, even if it was precipitated by one person at the front of the line.
I'm not one to advocate additional regulation, but feel that in this case a specific guideline for speed, and a stiff penalty for failing to abide, is the only way to get people to respect the safety of our officers and emergency responders.
Is it possible that more troopers are getting hit because there are more tickets being issued? It seems to me that the State Patrol has been FAR more active (pulling people over) in the last couple years.