|July 31, 2020 03:41 PM
|Senator Doug Mastriano and Sen. Kim L. Ward
|All Senate members
|Strengthening the state’s Steer Clear Law
|In the near future, we intend to introduce the following legislation and we invite you to join us as a co-sponsor:
Strengthening the state’s Steer Clear Law.
Over the past few weeks, there have been several roadway accidents resulting in a tow truck driver’s death and injuries to law enforcement personnel.
While the General Assembly took steps to increase penalties in the “Steer Clear Law” via Act 20 of 2017, more action is necessary to deter these types of accidents.
As a result, I am proposing legislation that will strengthen our state’s Steer Clear Law by:
● Re-branding the law from “Steer Clear” to “Move Over,” to clarify how the motoring public should react when approaching or passing an emergency response area;
● Establishing a new point system for a “Move Over” violation – two points for failure to merge into the lane not adjacent to the emergency response area (if safe to do so);
● Doubling the fines for a summary offense: $500 for first time offenders; $1,000 for a second offense and $2,000 for a third offense; and
● Implementing new requirements for drivers approaching an emergency response area;
if a driver is unable to safely merge into the lane not adjacent to the emergency response area, the vehicle must decelerate to a speed no more than 20-miles per hour less than the posted speed limit (existing law only requires a driver to pass the emergency response area at a “careful and prudent reduced speed”). Alabama, Florida, Indiana, Montana, Oregon, Texas, West Virginia and Wyoming have this type of provision in place; and
● Strengthening public awareness. Our legislation will require PennDOT to educate the public periodically throughout the year about the “Move Over” law.
According to data from the PA State Police, 7,075 citations were issued in 2018-2019 for violations coinciding with existing Duty of Driver in Emergency Response Area violations. Additionally, there were 3,204 warnings issued during that same timeframe.
The steeper fines and point assessment introduced in this legislation should act as a deterrent against repeat offenders, while also providing another opportunity to educate drivers on the “Move Over” law.
Lastly, the proposed revisions to this code mirror the penalties associated with construction zone violations.
Please join us in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation. If you have any comments, questions or concerns, please contact Doug Zubeck in Senator Mastriano’s office or Nolan Ritchie in Senator Kim Ward’s office.
Introduced as SB1281