State Patrol to cite drivers failing to move left around emergency vehicles

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMarch 11, 2014 

Washington State Patrol will be stepping up patrols in the next few weeks for drivers who don't slow down and move to the left while passing stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights.

Violating this law can land drivers a $190 fine, State Patrol spokesman Bob Calkins said.

Troopers have seen more than 10,000 violations since the law's implementation in 2011.

Emergency vehicles include police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, tow trucks and highway maintenance vehicles with emergency lights activated.

State Patrol advises drivers to move left only if it is safe, but drivers always should slow down when passing a stopped emergency vehicle. Endangering an emergency worker while passing is a criminal offense, according to State Patrol.

Drivers should apply this rule even on two-lane, two-way roads, as long as moving into the oncoming lane is safe at the time of passing, Calkins said.

Reach James Kozanitis at 360-715-2249 or james.kozanitis@bellinghamherald.com.

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