For two decades now, HERO units have been used in and around metro Atlanta to get traffic flowing after an accident on our interstate highways. This work has proven very important as our traffic congestion has worsened over this period, especially in the Atlanta metro area. HERO units are also able to provide some support to those stranded on the road due to mechanical problems with their vehicles or even when someone in the vehicle needs first aid of some sort. Recently, our HERO’s have even been provided updated uniforms, in conjunction with the 20th Anniversary of the program. HERO work is very helpful to our community. It can also be dangerous when, in the process of clearing an accident or attending to stranded drivers, others on the road do not drive carefully around them.
Just such an incident is currently under investigation after a HERO unit was hit by a vehicle on I-20 as the unit was present following an accident. Tragically, the HERO unit was working on a fatal single vehicle crash in which a driver had been ejected. The initial determination is that the original driver lost control of his vehicle after attempting to change lanes. While the HERO unit was doing its work, a distracted driver, who was also allegedly traveling too fast, hit the HERO unit and another vehicle. That driver was charged with speeding and other violations.
When drivers are in the area of a HERO unit after a crash, it is important to drive carefully around those doing their work. The program has become a real asset in managing Atlanta traffic congestion. The HERO program is supported by private funds and only recently the corporate sponsor for the program, a major insurance company, was awarded another five-year contract. This support includes Georgia’s Department of Transportation’s 511 real time traffic information number. In 2013 alone, the HERO units helped in over 100,000 incidents.
Emergency responders, such as HERO units, are important to our community’s safety as they work to clear lanes for traffic after motor vehicle crashes. Of course, they take their work very seriously and so should we. Drivers need to drive with care around them, without slowing traffic down. That is the purpose of Georgia’s Move Over Law, which has kept emergency responders better protected by requiring traffic to move-over one lane when emergency lights are flashing and work is being conducted on the side of the road. Alternatively, the Move Over Law states that in situations in which it isn’t possible to move over, drivers must slow down and be in a position to stop their vehicle.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car, truck or motorcycle accident, Scholle Law can provide a free evaluation of your situation to determine your legal rights. Please do not hesitate to contact our law firm at any time to discuss your accident with an attorney.