SEATTLE – Starting Saturday, if you don't move over or slow down when you see police or emergency workers pulled over on the side of the road, you could pay a hefty fine.
The Washington State Patrol says the enhanced Emergency Zone law builds on an earlier "move over" law and creates zones around emergency workers, similar to what is established for construction zones. Under the law, the $124 fine will double if you are speeding or fail to move over when passing through the emergency zone.
WSP says when approaching an emergency zone, the best idea is to let off the accelerator and ease over if it is safe, preferrably at least 200 feet before you get to the pulled over vehicles.
The purpose of the law is to prevent incidents like in this video.
"The State Patrol is not the only organization struggling with this problem. The towing industry recently experienced the tragedy of having one of its drivers killed while working on the side of the road," said WSP Chief John R. Batiste.
WSP says driving which endangers an emergency worker can be considered a crime. The driver could face jail time and a suspended license.
The original "move over" law was passed in 2007. Despite that, WSP says there were still 80 collisions in which passing vehicles hit trooper vehicles parked along the highway between 2006 and 2009.
The first 90 days of the new law will focus more on troopers educating drivers about the new law.