Lights & Sirens

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Move over for stopped emergency vehicles or face a ticket starting Friday

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on March 31, 2011 at 9:08 am |
March 31, 2011 9:08 am

Starting Friday, Washington State Patrol troopers will be handing out tickets to drivers who don’t slow down or move over when passing stationary emergency vehicles on the side of state highways.

The state’s Emergency Zone Law took effect Jan. 1. Troopers spent the first three months of the year educating drivers about the new law.

The education period is over.

The State Patrol says troopers will not be conducting “sting” or emphasis patrols for emergency zone violators. They will write tickets as incidents occur, the agency reported.

The new law creates a 200-foot zone around stationary police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks and state Department of Transportation rigs that have their lights on.

State lawmakers passed the original “Move Over” law in 2007 in an effort to protect emergency workers who are stopped on the side of highways to deal with crashes. But collisions involving emergency workers and vehicles only increased.

Between 2006 and 2009, passing vehicles struck parked trooper vehicles 80 times, the State Patrol reported. Speeding, driving too fast for conditions and drunken driving were among the contributing factors to the crashes.

Last year, lawmakers amended the law to include the 200-foot emergency zone.

Drivers face a $248 fine for failing to move over or slow down in an emergency zone. Drivers speeding through zones also could face fines and those suspected of driving recklessly could be charged with reckless endangerment.

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