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Washington State Patrol Will Begin Enforcing The Emergency Zone Law

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Not watching out for emergency crews and vehicles could cost you big bucks!

For the first 90 days since the Emergency Zone Law went into effect on January 1, 2011, the main focus for the Washington State Patrol was to educate motorists about the new law.  Starting April 1, 2011, State Patrol troopers will now begin writing tickets to motorists who fail to slow down or move over when passing stationary emergency vehicles on the side of the highway.  

Troopers will not be conducting “sting” or emergency zone emphases.  Troopers will ticket motorists on case-by-case basis or as incidents occur.

The state’s enhanced Emergency Zone law  was built on an earlier “move over” law and creates 200-foot zone around stationary emergency vehicles that have their lights activated.  The emergency vehicles include police cars, fire and emergency medical service vehicles, tow trucks and state Department of Transportation (WSDOT) vehicles. Under the law, the fine will double if you’re speeding or fail to move over when passing through the emergency zone.

Washington State passed the original “Move Over” law in 2007. However despite this change, the problem continued to get worse. Between 2006 and 2009, the Washington State Patrol alone had 80 collisions involving passing vehicles striking trooper vehicles parked alongside the highway.  The major contributing factor in these collisions were speeding or driving too fast for conditions, followed by DUI.

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