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NEGAUNEE– This week is traffic incident response week and law enforcement organizations across the state are highlighting Michigan’s Emergency Vehicle Caution Law, otherwise known as the ‘Move Over Law’. It was originally enacted in 2001.
The law protects policemen, firemen, rescue crews, ambulance workers, tow truck drivers and other courtesy vehicle operators. Civilians need to follow key rules when they see emergency personnel pulled over with their lights activated.
Trooper Alan Park, MSP- Negaunee Post says, “You’re required to slow and/ or move over. If you can’t move over you need to significantly reduce your speed and proceed with caution.”
Last winter, Trooper Park and his partner were injured due to someone not following the law and striking their vehicle.
Trooper Park says, “My partner and I were providing a traffic barrier for a wrecker service while they were moving a vehicle from the median and we were struck by a passing motorist who didn’t yield to our emergency vehicle on the road and both of us were injured.”
Trooper Park invited Local 3’s Rebecca Bartelme to ride along with him while he was on patrol.
With the first vehicle he pulled over, the driver parked on a side street where no cars passed by.
The second vehicle pulled over was on US HWY. 41 with more traffic. A couple of cars on this stop did not move over to the other lane including one driver who Trooper Park stopped shortly after.
This driver said he didn’t know about the law and was issued a warning. Trooper Park says when he pulls over someone for this he usually has to educate people about the law. During the last stop of the ride, drivers obeyed the law. They moved to other lane when passing the pulled over vehicles and moved back into the right lane when it was safe to do so. Not a lot of people breaking the law on this trip, but Trooper Park says it happens far too often.
Trooper Park says, “Tow truck drivers are hit working on wrecks, law enforcement officers, EMS personnel are hit. It happens more than you think.”
Trooper Park says distracted drivers are a major reason why accidents occur when drivers don’t move over.
It is felony with subject up to 15 years of prison if a law enforcement officer or emergency personnel is killed or injured and it is a misdemeanor for failing to yield to a moving or still emergency vehicle with lights activated.