Trooper Dylan Davenport has lost count the number of close calls she has survived, and she isn’t talking about run-ins with bad guys.
“It truly is one of the things that you never get over,” says Trooper Davenport. “Unfortunately, I’ve watched one of my coworkers get struck by a car.”
The eight-year veteran says drivers on highways and bi-ways can be dangerous, especially when it comes to distracted drivers.
“You know when you hear that rumble strip, you’re always a little jumpy when that happens,” says Trooper Davenport. “Everyone of us that works on the interstate has nearly been struck or been struck so it is a serious issue.”
According to the National Law Enforcement officers Memorial Fund traffic fatalities rank as the leading cause of death among police officers.
A total of 50 officers died nationwide in traffic crashes in 2012. Fourteen officers died while standing outside their cruisers. Thirty-three law enforcement officers have died in traffic accidents in 2013.
On Tuesday a Henrico motorcycle officer was hurt when he was hit by a car while leading a funeral procession at Pemberton Road and Downing Street in Henrico’s West End.
Trooper Davenport says more people need to pay attention to the Slow Down/Move Over Law.
“Slow down. Move over as much as you safely can. It can mean the difference between life and death,” says Trooper Davenport.
The law, or variations of it, can be found 47 states across America. Get caught once and you’ll be ticketed. Get busted a second time? You’ll be charged with a misdemeanor.”
It is not just officers worried about distracted drivers. Robin Coleman, a VDOT supervisor with 35 years of experience under his belt, says lawbreakers need to be punished.
“It is pretty scary sometimes,” says Coleman. “It is like people don’t see you. They don’t expect you to be in the road.”
Coleman says his biggest concern is drivers who blatantly ignore his work crews on the side of the highway.
“I would appreciate it when they drive because it is me and my guys whose lives are at stake,” says Coleman.
Trooper Davenport says it gets so dangerous on the roadways that during traffic stops she now approaches a car on the passenger side.
The Henrico motorcycle officer injured in the accident is being treated at the hospital for his injuries and will be released from the hospital soon.