Safety vests save lives of those working in traffic

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December 8, 2006

29-year-old Sgt. Jason Sheppard was killed last night while he was directing traffic at the scene of a fire.

It happened at the intersection of US-1 and Windham Boulevard, where he was hit by a Honda CRV.

In this report we take a look at the dangers involved in directing traffic, and the types of safety equipment available.

The single most important piece of equipment for folks working in traffic is a safety vest. When it's hit with headlines, it's impossible to miss.

It's because of these vests more lives aren't lost.

Standing in the center lane is downright dangerous.

Just one day after an Aiken County deputy was killed directing traffic, Richmond County Sgt. Pete Lamb is stressing safety.

"[Getting hit is] in the back of your mind every time you walk along the side of that highway," he said. "We lost one of our own a couple years ago, same kind of circumstance."

He showed us what he relies on while working in the danger zone.

"The sheriff's office provides reflective vests for officers to use, and it's department policy that if you're out investigating a traffic crash that you wear that vest," he said.

In video of the chaos in Aiken County last night, you can spot several safety vests, flashlights, colored cones, street lamps, and lights on patrol cars.

It's all by the book, says Sgt. Lamb.

"We try to light up the scene. We try to light up the vehicles, give the public plenty of warning that something's happening out there," he said. "And it's my understanding that's what was going on in Aiken County."

What's tough, he says, are drivers who don't pay attention...whether it be at the scene of a fire or a community event.

He asks that you slow down and stay safe, because it could help save a life. If you see a safety vest or flashlight on the road, be prepared to stop.

It may sound like common sense, but accidents do happen.