After the new Emergency Zone Law went into effect on January 1st, 2011, drivers were given a 90-day grace period by legislature during which troopers were asked to educate the public about the new law rather than immediately enforcing it.
But alas, the grace period is now over. Since April 1st, troopers have been writing tickets to drivers who fail to slow down or move over when passing emergency vehicles on the shoulder or on the side of the highway. Failure to slow down or move over can cost you $248, or even your license if convicted of Reckless Endangerment.
The emergency zone is a 200-foot zone around an emergency vehicle with flashing lights. This equals roughly 10 car lengths before and after an emergency vehicle and includes the lane adjacent to the emergency vehicle. Emergency vehicles include tow trucks with red lights, emergency assistance vehicles with warning lights, or any police car with flashing lights. If they are stationary on the side of the roadway with their lights on – you must move over.
If you cannot safely change lanes or move over, remain in your lane but be sure to slow down and proceed cautiously.
We think – this is not about a $248 ticket. This is about helping to save the lives of the officers and emergency workers who would put their life on the line to save us! It’s part of their job to get out of their car a mere few feet away from 60mph traffic… So, let’s move over and give them a brake!
Many thanks to Washington’s Law Enforcement officers and Emergency Workers for all that they do to keep our roads safe!