DOT Worker killed helping disabled driver,2933,582802,00.html?test=latestnews

This really bothers me. I’ve been looking at the picture and the disabled driver and DOT truck are parked way, way over on the shoulder. They weren’t anywhere near the traffic lane. This dumb ass had to swerve almost half way into the shoulder to hit them.

It makes me wonder what the heck is wrong with drivers these days. They’re in such a blasted hurry. :frowning: This isn’t an isolated incident. Seems like I hear about state troopers getting hit (standing by a car, giving tickets) several times a year.

I’d like to see much stiffer penalties for vehicular manslaughter. A car is a deadly weapon even in the hands of someone that hasn’t been drinking. Driving too fast or driving distracted (cell phones) is just as bad as driving drunk.

Actually, looking at the picture, that’s NOT very far over on the shoulder; I would have parked considerably further. Stopped vehicles on the roadside seem to be a magnet for drivers. For some motorcyclists, obstacle avoidance is problematic: they see an object in the road, fixate on it, and exhibit a natural tendency to steer towards it. This is perhaps easier to do subconsciously on a motorcycle, but maybe there’s a bit of it for car drivers too? Seems to be worse for drunks, who are drawn like flies to the bright lights of a roadside traffic stop.

Yes, “target fixation” occurs in all vehicles, not just motorcycles. It’s one reason being parked on the shoulder of a road can be hazardous, and why “gaper’s delays” can pose hazards. The higher the speed the more problematic the fixation is, as the driver has less time to realize they’re fixated and take action to prevent a collision. Humans are curious, and it’s tempting to see what’s going on at roadside, but at that moment you really do have to keep aware of the larger situation.

It looks like the ground slopes up rather sharply just off the shoulder. Not really much more room to pull off farther.

Whats a gaper delay?

And I agree heartily with this post.

The times I’ve had to pull off the road, Ive gotten WAY off. AND I keep 1.5 eyes on oncoming traffic the whole time.

This tragic accident should be a warning to all to exhibit extreme caution when being alongside the road. And remind you to be careful of fixating/swerving yourself. And I’d bet everyones done some fixating at one time or another.

Heavy traffic as the result of some disturbance on the road, like an accident or the like. Refers to all of the drivers slowing down to stare at it, causing the entire roadway to back up.


One of the ways to stay in your lane in a car is to stay behind a car you see ahead of you. That’s not a problem when the car ahead of you is moving, but it becomes one when it isn’t.

OK the pedant in me is screaming right now…is “disabled driver” the way that you all refer to the driver of a broken down car?

My first thought that the “driver” referred to was a paraplegic…and was wondering just why the Dept of Transport was helping him.

So the driver is NOT a paraplegic? I was thinking the same as you.

Well, if a driver is paraplegic, they said driver might require help where an able-bodied driver wouldn’t, such as dealing with a flat tire. However, the article does not state a specific disability in regards to said driver, and as you point out, could be read as “driver of a disabled vehicle” though I think most would, as you and I did, assume the driver was disabled.

Yeah I thought it was someone in a wheelchair too. Disabled driver implies something like that.

Disabled vehicle implies only a broke car.

I figured the DOT worker saw a handicapped license plate on the car and stopped to help.

well know I dunno if the driver or the car was disabled…but why isn’t there any mention of “car problems” in the article if it was the driver that was diabled? And just why did he stop there? And if I were the reporter I would have made a specific note if the driver actually had a disability and why he wasn’t helping the SPOT (sorry - DOT makes me laugh) worker, and also why the car was stopped in the first place.

So I guess its sloppy writing, bad editing and poor headline contribution

Of course it could just be weird comprehension on my part…


I park my car behind at an angle and put a little distance between the disabled car. if it’s struck it will absorb some of the impact and move off the road to the right.

Of course, a “disabled driver” might not mean someone with a disability, it might also mean someone so ill from food poisoning they’re “disabled”. Or who is having a heart attack.

Sloppy writing.

Clearly, we are dealing with a disabled headline writer.

Regarding the shoulder, around here (the Self-Importance Capital of the World, the DC exburbs) there are a LOT of accidents in which a car or person on the shoulder is struck by a speeding car – usually in heavy traffic, with 5,000 cars visible ahead, so I doubt it’s a case of dumbly fixating on the lone car filling one’s vision on the shoulder.

Whenever traffic starts to back up, I see people whip onto the right shoulder and use it to run up ahead, sometimes under the pretext of “I’m exiting…in 2 miles” and sometimes without pretense. So I think these accidents are caused mostly by selfish people “cheating” to get around slowdowns. Since the purpose of the behavior (as I posit it) is to avoid slowing down, they often are going too fast if they whip onto the shoulder and something is there.

Although a cell phone call was involved in this case, I got the impression at the time that traffic was heavy and the lawyer-murderer was in a hurry and probably went onto the shoulder to bypass the backup.

Here’s a slightly better article. Seems like the vehicle was totally disabled, not the driver, and the victim was a mechanic who was trying to get it going again.