Avoiding the summertime blues
ANDREW LEIBENGUTH/TIMES NEWS Pictured, from left, are Rush Township Police officers Sgt. Duane Frederick and Bradley Hess, 911 telecommunicator Seth Lowe and West Penn Police Chief Brian Johnson.
The West Penn and Rush Township Police Departments are stepping up enforcement for the next few months in conjuction with PennDOT's Special Project Funding through the PA Aggressive Driving Enforcement and Education Project.
The campaign, called "Avoiding the Summertime Blues," places particular emphasis on summer and fall travel.
Police point out that this time of year draws more traffic volume and crashes. Both West Penn and Rush Township police will be conducting details seperately as well as jointly to ensure safer travel on SR309 throughout Schuylkill County through the end of September.
West Penn police will be conducting enforcement periodically and reminding motorists of the Steer Clear law and to move over when they encounter an emergecy scene, traffic stop or a disabled vehicle. The Steer Clear law was created to improve safety during roadside incidents. The law applies any time an emergency vehicle has its lights flashing and where road crews or emergency personnel have lit flares, posted signs or are warning motorists.
In cases where law enforcement may not be present, the law allows road workers and emergency responders and fire police to report violations by motorists. In some cases, violations can result in a 90-day license suspension.
"Drivers need to remember to move over since this law is designed to provide safety for those people responding to situations along roadways," said Brian Johnson, West Penn police chief. "Failure to move over or slow down can result in a summary offense that carries a fine up to $250. In addition, fines will be doubled for traffic violations occurring in these areas."
Police officers, emergency crews, and those working to assist stranded motorists must be given a wider margin for safety.
Johnson added, "We are relying on everyone to do their part if they come upon such a situation by keeping themselves and others safety in mind when traveling."
Rush Township police will be conducting extra enforcement activities during the Labor Day holiday, as well as those locations experiencing higher volumes of traffic and crashes within the township. TEZ's, or Traffic Enforcement Zones, will be placed at Wednesday's Hometown Farmer's Market to ensure motorists a safe and uncongested traffic flow. Empahsis will be placed on stop sign and traffic light violations as well as speeding within this vicinity.
"It is important to avoid receiving a ticket, but even more significant to avoid being involved in a crash," said Sgt. Duane Frederick. "We want to help you arrive safely at your destination."
He added, "Avoid the summertime blues and drive as though your life depends on it."