PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Working inches away from 60 mile per hour traffic is obviously dangerous, but state police have had it with drivers making it more dangerous than necessary.
Tandem state police cars move to the curb with a violator on Interstate 79.
Trooper Melinda Citero does the tight rope walk between violator and traffic to do her job.
“They get pretty close to the point sometimes I actually have to grab onto the car that I’m standing in front so I don’t get blown back and forth,” she said. “Sometimes my hat gets blown off.”
The second trooper on hand in this case is Robin Mungo. She’s keeping watch for drivers who do not move over if able as required by the Steer Clear law to protect first responders.
“We are losing too many officers out here who are doing their job every day because people are being distracted, they’re not paying attention,” Mungo said.
So recently on I-79, and this week on Route 28, they started going out in pairs in a Steer Clear crackdown.
“Where there’s another state car behind you that actually is a chase car that will go after those vehicles,” Citero explained.
And not just those jeopardizing police.
“Any emergency vehicle that is assisting someone on the side of the road,” Mungo said.
If you can’t move over a lane due to traffic, you are required to slow down, but how slow?
“You need to go slow enough that so if you hit me I’ll survive,” Mungo said.
The fine for a Steer Clear violation is $250 before costs. State police vow to increase the crackdown without further warnings or apologies.