The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) and 3M Scotchlite Reflective Material are teaming up to urge motorists and police officers to exercise care on the roadways and keep America's peace officers safe — during the upcoming Labor Day weekend and throughout the year.
3M is committing $25,000 to the Memorial Fund, whose "Drive Safely" campaign reminds motorists to be careful around emergency vehicles and to slow down and move over when they see police officers stopped by the side of the road. In 2007, a record 83 law enforcement officers across the country were killed in traffic-related incidents, and for each of the last 10 years, more officers have died on our roadways than were killed by gunfire.
3M is helping to spread the roadway safety message to law enforcement personnel, emphasizing the new federal highway visibility regulations for law enforcement personnel that go into effect on November 24, 2008. Through its "Protect our Protectors" program, 3M has pledged to donate to the NLEOMF a portion of the proceeds from the sale of high-visibility safety garments that use Scotchlite reflective material.
"We are proud to partner with NLEOMF and its Drive Safely campaign, through 3M's Protect our Protectors program," said Jean Waller, market development manager, 3M Visibility and Insulation Solutions. "Education is key regarding the upcoming Federal Highway regulations on First Responder visibility, and partnering with NLEOMF is a great fit for promoting roadway safety for law enforcement."
According to the Federal Highway Administration regulation published on November 24, 2006 (23 CFR Part 634: Worker Visibility), all workers within the right-of-way of a Federal-aid Highway who are exposed either to traffic or to construction equipment within the work area shall wear high-visibility safety apparel that meets the Performance Class 2 or 3 requirements of the American National Standard for High Visibility Apparel (ANSI/ISEA 107-2004).
As the November 24, 2008, deadline for compliance approaches, it is critical that law enforcement officers and agencies understand how they will be impacted by the changes. 3M can help provide clarity to law enforcement personnel about the new regulations and the options available in order to make the best choices for safety, compliance and comfort. For more information on this subject and the Protect our Protectors donation program, contact 3M at www.scotchlite.com/lawenforcement
"Our nation's law enforcement personnel spend much of their time on the roadways working to protect the rest of us, and far too many of them are seriously injured or killed each year in the process," said NLEOMF Chairman and CEO Craig W. Floyd. "We are very pleased to be partnering with 3M in this important effort to protect our peace officers by educating the public and making sure our law enforcement officers meet legal requirements for effective visibility gear."
The NLEOMF launched the Drive Safely campaign, a nationwide public information and awareness effort, to decrease law enforcement fatalities on the roadways. The Drive Safely Website includes a variety of safety resources, including 10 common-sense steps that motorists can take to help protect law enforcement officers on the roadways. These include avoiding distractions, allowing emergency vehicles to pass, never driving on the shoulder, and "slowing down and moving over" when there is a police cruiser or other emergency vehicle by the side of the road. Forty-three states have "Move Over" laws that require added caution around emergency vehicles.
For more information, visit www.nleomf.org/DriveSafely.