CARSON CITY — Effective July 1, updated law requires drivers to slow down, proceed with caution and if possible move to the far lane when passing Nevada Department of Transportation vehicles stopped on the side of the road with their flashing amber or non-flashing blue lights on.
Current Nevada law requires drivers to do the same when passing official emergency response vehicles pulled over on the side of the road with amber lights flashing.
Lights are often used on NDOT vehicles to warn drivers of an immediate traffic hazard as well as when employees are constructing, maintaining or repairing highways. The updated law also includes NDOT’s approximately 10 Freeway Service Patrol vehicles which help keeping traffic moving smoothly in Reno and Las Vegas.
NDOT has about 2,000 pieces of heavy equipment including snow plows and 850 roadway maintenance — and 350 construction administration professionals responsible for maintenance and construction improvements on more than 5,000 miles of state roadway. NDOT maintenance professionals perform as many as 100 different roadway maintenance tasks, from resurfacing state roads to removing snow. They are often some of the very first on scene to assist drivers and emergency responders when there is a roadway incident, NDOT stated.
NDOT reported in total, 24 NDOT employees have been killed in the line of duty since 1948. The most recent NDOT employee to die in the line of duty was Ron Raiche, Jr., who was struck and killed by an inattentive driver March 30, 2015, while repairing roadway cracking on Interstate 80 near Battle Mountain.
“Each and every NDOT employee works to keep our roads mobile and safe,” NDOT Director Rudy Malfabon said. “This law will in turn give our NDOT employees an extra measure of roadway safety. Earlier in my NDOT career, I worked on our road construction crews. Now as NDOT director, I observe the daily efforts of our dedicated NDOT employees (who) keep our roadsides safe and clear. This law will help keep our state road maintenance and construction crews, as well as drivers, that much safer.”
The updated law becomes effective July 1, 2017. Drivers found guilty of violating the law can be charged with a misdemeanor. Many states, including California, Utah, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Tennessee and Wisconsin, currently have “move over” laws which include state department of transportation maintenance vehicles.