RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - As Christmas fast approaches The United States Postal Service (USPS) is reminding drivers to keep in mind postal carriers who are delivering packages during the early morning hours or later than usual in the evenings.
Alex Sebisebe with USPS says delivering mail can be especially dangerous for mail carriers if drivers are not paying attention.
“Oftentimes letter carriers are delivering packages and making stops frequently and sometimes they’re doing so suddenly and so it can take an inattentive driver by surprise when a letter carrier throws on their hazard lights to make a delivery or a stop,” said Sebsibe.
According to Virginia’s move over law, (§ 46.2-921.1) states that “upon approaching a stationary vehicle that is displaying a flashing, blinking or alternating blue, red or amber light or lights,” drivers shall:
- “On a highway having at least four lanes, at least two of which are intended for traffic proceeding as the approaching vehicle, proceed with caution and, if reasonable, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, yield the right of way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the stationary vehicle or
- “If changing lanes would be unreasonable or unsafe, proceed with due caution and maintain a safe speed for highway conditions.” A single violation of the “Move Over” law is punishable as a traffic infraction. Subsequent violations may be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
“The letter carriers are protected by that law as well and whenever you see a carrier give him or her enough space to do their job,” said Sebsibe.
Sebsibe says incidents involving mail trucks can be more frequent during this time as more carriers are driving around the clock and traveling by foot down dark poorly lit areas. When accidents happen mail trucks are typically rear-ended or clipped from the sides
“When we see these accidents happen, t’s not a lot of them, but when they happen, it is serious and they do cause a lot of injuries and we want every one of our carriers everyone of our employees to go home safely,” said Sebsibe.
Michael Romano with the U-S Postal Inspectors says the security of their carriers at night is paramount
Ultimately what we want to do is make our carriers are safe and protected," said Romano. “Each time this year we send out bulletins to our law enforcement partners to let them know our carriers are going to be on the street after hours and if you could do some routine patrols and keep an eye on them to help keep them safe.”
As carriers continue to deliver mail in during the holiday season during the early morning or late evening hours when it’s darkest Romano says their safety could be at risk.
“There could be an assault on our postal employees as well as a robbery which could carry up to 25 years in a federal penitentiary,” said Romano. "We do ask the public to keep an eye out on our carriers. If you see something suspicious immediately call 911 to get police out there and then follow up with a call to the postal inspection service at 877-876-2455.
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