Columbia, SC (WLTX) - Every day law enforcement officials put their lives on the line for their jobs, but it's not always the most obvious dangers that concern them the most.
L. Cpl. Brent Kelly has been with the South Carolina Highway Patrol for 5 years, and says distracted drivers are a huge worry for troopers.
"The biggest concern, as far as safety for us, is when we're actually on the side of the road during a traffic stop," said Kelly.
"There have been incidences where emergency personnel working scenes on the side of the road have been struck by oncoming vehicles."
The most recent incident was this past Friday, when Trooper Howard James, 27, was struck on I-26 while investigating a collision in Orangeburg County.
Officials with the Department of Public safety say James is in serious but stable condition and is showing signs of improvement every day.
Then there was Chance Zobel, 23, a Columbia firefighter struck and killed by a car back in 2010 as he tried to put out a fire at the side of Interstate 20.
"Any time something happens I think it puts us all on alert and makes us realize that things like that can happen at any time. It does put us on alert to be extra careful out there."
Drivers hold responsibility too. Under the 'Move Over' law, drivers are required to slow down and switch to the far lane when passing an accident or a scene where emergency workers are present. Failure to comply with the law is a misdemeanor and carries a $300 to $500 ticket.
"Traffic might stop suddenly in front of you or emergency personnel may have to step out into the roadway for some reason and if you're not paying attention to what's going on in front of you, and you're concentrating on the scene itself, bad things can happen."
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, more than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles on our roadways. The Move Over Law is in place to keep officials and drivers safe.
"Law enforcement in general is all family, and when something happens to one of our coworkers or brothers or sisters, it affects everybody within the organization."
Orangeburg Deputies are still investigating the accident involving Trooper James.