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State troopers show the dangers they face when drivers don’t move over

SEATTLE — For Washington State Patrol troopers, one of their biggest dangers are drivers.

In the past five years, 51 troopers have been injured because of drivers failing to move over.

Trooper James MaGuire has been on the force for only about a year but he’s already had two close calls.

In January, MaGuire was standing a few feet away from his patrol car when a passing car lost control and hit his vehicle along the shoulder of I-405 in Bellevue.

“A car came at a high rate around the corner, hydroplaned, spun out and spinning right at me,” MaGuire.

His dashcam caught the sedan losing control, ricocheting off MaGuire’s SUV, then slamming into a van that had just been pulled over for a traffic stop.

“If I had been a little closer to my door, I would have been crushed,” MaGuire said.

Troopers say many of these crashes are preventable; that’s why this week they are putting an emphasis on the “Move Over” law.

“I don’t think a lot of people have bad intentions or making the choice not to move over, I think it’s really they don’t know they are required,” MaGuire said.

So on Friday, troopers took Q13 News for a ride and we stopped along I-90 to survey the problem

In a 15-minute span, we witnessed a lot of truck drivers moving over but not enough cars.

The rule is simple.

Move over one lane if you see an emergency vehicle stopped along the shoulder.

There are exceptions -- if you are in traffic or in a situation where you cannot move over safely, that is OK, just slow down in those cases.

“I would advise ...  if possible, not slam on your brakes ... but drop your speed 10 miles an hour,” WSP spokesman Rick Johnson said.

The reduction in speed will give drivers more control to react and lessen chances of crashes from happening.

“They are the most dangerous threat in my mind to being a trooper, being on the road and cars hitting us,” MaGuire said.

If you are pulled over for not moving over, you could receive a $214 ticket.