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New Washington State Law forces drivers to move over away from emergency vehicles on highways.

The new "Emergency Zone Law" in Washington takes effect on January 1, 2010.  Drivers will now be required to give stopped emergency vehicles that have their emergency lights on a safety buffer zone of 200 feet.  Many WSP troopers, tow truck drivers and transportation workers are injured in Washington car accidents on our highways every year.  Often when a car strikes a pedestrian at highway speeds the person often is killed.  

Many vehicles are included under this new law: police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks, and construction vehicles. Obviously the color of lights is not important, it's that a vehicle is stopped with its warning lights on. Drivers are required to slow down, move to the left, and keep 200 feet away or face stiff fines. If you violate the Emergency Zone Law the fines are double from what they have been in past.  Fail to slow down and move over and it will cost you $248.00.

Under existing law, cars traveling on a roadway with at least two lanes in their direction of travel must slow down and move over a lane from the shoulder when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle with its lights activated. On roadways with only one lane in their direction of travel, motorists must pass to the left of an emergency vehicle if they're able to safely do so, while yielding the right of way to all vehicles traveling in the opposite direction.

The new "Emergency Zone Law" creates new 200-foot zones in front and behind emergency vehicles.  Vehicles must slow down and move over before they are close to emergency vehicles and cannot move back over until they are well past the emergency vehicles.

This is a good law and will save lives. It's nice to see the folks in Olympia putting out some legislation that improves highway safety.