Kansas City: Zipping past officers could bring a ticket
By LYNN HORSLEY
The Kansas City Star
Police call it getting buzzed when passing cars speed by so close to them at a traffic stop or an accident scene that their clothes flap.
Its a hazard that threatens their lives daily, and several high-profile deaths have occurred in recent years.
On Thursday, the Kansas City Council endorsed a measure to crack down on motorists who dont move over at least one lane or slow down when they see emergency vehicles stopped at the side of a road. The new law, which takes effect in 10 days, carries a minimum fine of $100.
What you do today here is very important, Kansas City Police Sgt. Tim Gaughan had told a council committee Wednesday. It may save someones life and may save one of our lives.
The Missouri legislature adopted a similar law in 2004 after a Highway Patrol trooper was killed in 2003 while writing a warning along Interstate 70 in Lafayette County.
Councilman Charles Eddy said that Kansas City officers faced the same threat but that it was difficult for them to use a state charge. He said they needed a city ordinance to let officers write Municipal Court tickets.
Gaughan said officers cars or motorcycles have been hit frequently by passing motorists and sometimes their radios have even been knocked from their belts.
In 1998, Kansas City police Officer Thomas Meyers was struck and killed while aiding an accident victim on Interstate 29 near Tiffany Springs Road.
Capt. Scott Caron, traffic unit commander, said motorists need to proceed with caution around stationary emergency vehicles. The Kansas City ordinance says motorists, when possible, should yield the right of way and move into a lane not adjacent to the stationary vehicle. On narrower roads, or where changing lanes is impossible, motorists must slow to a safe speed.
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