Emergency vehicles need room on roads

State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan reminds all motorists to steer clear of police, emergency responders, road crews and tow truck operators while they carry out their duties on Pennsylvania’s roads.

“When you see law enforcement personnel stopped to write citations or responding to crashes and disabled vehicles, please make sure you proceed with caution and pass on the left,” Noonan said. “It could be a matter of life or death for the first responder.”

In August, a state police trooper was injured when a motor home struck the rear of his patrol car on the shoulder of Interstate 78 in Lebanon County. Another trooper was hurt when an SUV struck him while issuing a citation to a motorist along I-81 in Dauphin County.

Pennsylvania’s Steer Clear Law requires motorists to move to a lane that is not immediately adjacent to an emergency response area. Such areas include locations where police are making traffic stops, where highway or construction workers are involved in emergency assistance or where tow trucks are responding to disabled vehicles.

If drivers cannot move over because of traffic or other conditions, they must proceed at a speed that is “reasonable and prudent,” according to the law.

“I urge drivers to be watchful for flashing lights, flares in the road and personnel who may be in or next to roadways helping with emergencies,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said. “Moving over or slowing down when you pass these scenes helps ensure our workers, police and other responders can focus on saving lives instead of being afraid for their own.” ••