Troopers hit prompts UHP to explain ‘slow down’ procedure

Posted at 10:12 PM, Sep 18, 2014

SALT LAKE CITY -- Three Utah Highway Patrol Officers were hit by drivers recently as they tried to clear debris from Utah highways.

That’s prompted UHP to try to educate motorists on how troopers try to slow down traffic in order to pick up objects that are driving hazards.

Trooper Brian Schultz is one trooper who had a close call.

“As I was walking back to my car I had someone come up right, I literally jumped up onto the hood just so I wouldn't get hit," Schultz said.

To slow traffic down, troopers weave across all lanes of traffic with their lights and sirens on.

Lt. Jeff Nigbur with UHP said close calls happen too often.

"They were doing the serpentine with their lights and sirens on completely visible and cars would come up beside them too fast not noticing what was going on and sideswiped the troopers as they were doing that slow down," Nigbur said.

Nigbur said his officers have seen all kinds of things threatening motorists.

“We've had hot tubs, boats, couches, chairs, you name it it's been out there on the freeway," he said.

Slowdowns usually span about a mile and a half, lasting no more than a couple minutes.

During a slowdown, troopers want motorists to be patient, slow down and stay behind the trooper for everyone's safety.

"You don't pass a police car with his lights and sirens going. There's no reason for it. If people understand that and do just that, it's going to be fine," Schultz said.

Right now there is no law specifically addressing slowdowns and motorist requirements but there are state statutes about following law enforcement signals, like lights and sirens of a police car.