Iowa and Illinois law enforcement are cracking down on drivers who don’t make way for emergency vehicles and stranded motorists on the side of the road. Switching lanes and slowing down to pass is not a courtesy, it’s a requirement for the safety of the officers and motorists who may be stranded. The law has expanded in Illinois not only to include emergency and law enforcement vehicles but also vehicles with flashers.
Motorists are warned to move over or slow down, or pay the price.
The scheduled fine for a conviction of violating Iowa law is $100 plus any surcharge and court costs.
A person convicted of a violation that resulted in a crash causing bodily injury to or the death of another person may be subject to an additional fine, beyond the scheduled fine for a violation of the move over law and any other penalties allowed by law. The additional fine is $500 for a violation causing bodily injury to another person and $1,000 for a violation causing death.
Here’s a look at the Iowa law:
1. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, red, or red and blue lights shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall proceed in one of the following manners, absent any other direction by a peace officer:
a. Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions.
b. If a lane change under paragraph “a” would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
2. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary towing or recovery vehicle, a stationary utility maintenance vehicle, a stationary municipal maintenance vehicle, or a stationary highway maintenance vehicle that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall proceed in one of the following manners, absent any other direction by a peace officer:
a. Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the towing, recovery, utility maintenance, municipal maintenance, or highway maintenance vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions.
b. If a lane change under paragraph “a” would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.
3a. A person convicted of a violation of this section commits a simple misdemeanor punishable as a scheduled violation under section 805.8A, subsection 11.
3b. A person convicted of a violation of this section which resulted in an accident causing bodily injury to or the death of another person may be subject to the following penalties in addition to the penalty provided for a scheduled violation in section 805.8A, subsection 11, or any other penalty provided by law:
(1) For a violation causing bodily injury to another person, a fine of five hundred dollars.
(2) For a violation causing death, a fine of one thousand dollars.
3c. Upon receiving a record of a person’s conviction for a violation under paragraph “a” which resulted in an accident causing damage to the property of another person or bodily injury to or death of another person, the department shall suspend the person’s driver’s license or operating privileges upon thirty days’ notice and without preliminary hearing, as follows:
(1) For a violation causing damage to the property of another person, but not resulting in bodily injury or death of another person, the department shall suspend the violator’s driver’s license or operating privileges for ninety days.
(2) For a violation causing bodily injury to another person, the department shall suspend the violator’s driver’s license or operating privileges for one hundred eighty days.
(3) For a violation causing death, the department shall suspend the violator’s driver’s license or operating privileges for one year.
Iowa Code 321.324: Operation on the approach of emergency vehicles.
Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle with any lamp or device displaying a red light or red and blue lights, or an authorized emergency vehicle of a fire department displaying a blue light, or when the driver is giving audible signal by siren, exhaust whistle, or bell, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the highway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer. For the purposes of this section, “red light” or “blue light” means a light or lighting device that, when illuminated, will exhibit a solid flashing or strobing red or blue light.
Upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, as above stated, the driver of every streetcar shall immediately stop such car clear of any intersection and keep it in such position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer.
This section shall not operate to relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.