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Move over for police and emergency vehicles, says the State Patrol

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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) -- The State Patrol is reminding drivers to move over or slow down for police and other emergency workers in the new year.

State Patrol Sergeant Carrie Johnson says the law is fairly simple. "Basically if you see a stopped emergency vehicle on the roadway, with the lights activated, you must move over into the far lane." The law has been on the books since 2001 and a number of other states have adopted the same or similar laws.

It's there to be a measure of safety to police, tow trucks and other workers who might be near traffic. "That's basically our office, and there's a lot of tow truck operators that are out there as well, especially when visibility is poor and they're they're out there doing their job as well. Or ambulance crews or somebody assisting a motorist."

If you don't comply, Johnson says there's serious consequences. "If you fail to move over, and you do pass a law enforcement officer alongside the road on a traffic stop or just with it's lights on, it is a 263 dollar forfeiture and a three point violation on your record."

The law also applies to Wisconsin's two lane roads as well. "If you happen to be on a two lane highway, then if you cannot move over to pass and give some room, you should just slow down to a reasonable speed."

In 2013, 10 State Patrol vehicles were struck by motorists as they were sitting on the side of the road. Four times, and officer was inside. Luckily no one was hurt, but there were some very close calls. Johnson reminds all drivers to be safe and courteous on the roads, and pay attention to what they're doing.

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