SGT Steve Gaskins worries more about being hit by a car while he’s on the job than he worries about getting shot.
"If you think of it, in a five or 10-minute traffic stop you could have several hundred cars pass by you in that time frame, so just playing the numbers is against you," he explains.
He’s got good reason to be worried. Between 1996 and 2000, nearly 1,800 police cars were hit by motorists and more than 400 officers injured. Five died.
A law that’s been on the books since 2002 requires you to move over one lane as you approach a parked cruiser or emergency vehicle on the side of the road, or slow to 20 miles an hour less than the posted speed limit if you can’t move over, but few motorists seem to know about the law, let alone follow it.
A public service announcement showing the faces of troopers killed by careless motorists is supposed to draw attention to the problem and the new law, but is it practical to expect motorists to move over or slow down in the heavy highway traffic in central and south Florida?
SGT Gaskins says that’s not a good enough excuse.
"If you can’t move over because of traffic or because the roadway is designed a certain way where you can’t move over, then you’re required to reduce your speed by 20 miles an hour."
The life of a person sworn to protect you and your family may depend on it.