KENNETT, MO (KAIT) - "We've always had a move over law... it was just for the police and emergency services," Assistant District Engineer Matt Seiler said. However, that won't be the case much longer.
Monday, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon expanded the state's "Move Over" law, adding protection to MoDOT workers. It's something crew members have been wanting for awhile, added protection from distracted drivers going through their work zones.
"Texting, talking on the phone, drinking coffee...not even just paying attention, basically just going where they've gotta go," that's how MoDOT crew member Tracy Currey said motorists pass through his office.
"A few years ago I was cutting concrete and I had a semi truck get within about three inches of my head," Currey said. "If it would've been three inches closer, I wouldn't be here."
Currey told Region 8 News that he and other crew members experience close calls like that regardless of signs and flashing lights set up around their work zone.
But, with the recent extension of the "Move Over" law, signed by Governor Nixon on July 9, Assistant District Engineer with MoDOT, Matt Seiler said, he hopes drivers will pay more attention to crew members.
"Their office is basically on the highway," Seiler explained. "Someone's life is basically dependent on them to be attentive and careful as they pass and go through out work zone."
Seiler said for the most part drivers are courteous... but the added protection doesn't hurt. Seiler explained that violators will face a fine once the extension takes effect.
"We're relying on people to just obey the law. and if they don't...they're not only putting our employees at risk but they also put themselves at risk."
Currey said driving safely through work zones is all about perspective.
"How would you like it if we drove through your work at 90mph? We've all got families to go home to and we want to get home to our families just like they do.," Currey said.
The extension to the Move Over law will take effect on August 28.
Violators of the Move over law will face a one thousand dollar fine. Drivers who hit and kill an emergency worker face a 10-thousand dollar fine.