Understanding Pennsylvania’s Steer Clear Law

Car Accidents
By Goodwin Como, P.C.

Emergency situations on the road are difficult because accidents occur in a place where several drivers are crossing. If there are more negligent drivers close to your accident site, the situation can worsen.

The state created the Steer Clear Law in 2006 to minimize the chances of this. The law enforces drivers to give emergency vehicles such as the police, fire trucks, tow trucks, and ambulances the room they need to help with emergency situations.

In the last seven months, State Police in central Pennsylvania have cited 74 people not moving over for emergency vehicles. The State Police have begun to enforce the law more heavily, so drivers should know what the law expects them to do and what the consequences for disobeying are.

What to do around emergency vehicles

Pennsylvania’s Steer Clear Law requires drivers to move to a lane not adjacent to the emergency response area if there is an accident or if the police have pulled someone over to the side. If they are unable to do so, they must reduce their speed when they pass the area. If an emergency vehicle needs to transport a victim or catch a criminal, drivers must pull over to the side of the road and allow them to pass.

As straightforward as it sounds, there have been several incidents caused by drivers who do not obey this rule. Last September, a passing driver that did not slow down or move to the other lane killed a motorist and tow truck driver on Route 222. The tow trucker’s wife has been spreading awareness ever since to prevent others from sharing her husband’s fate.

The punishments for disobeying

Drivers that are charged with not following the Steer Clear Law receive fines up to $250 for their first offense. Any subsequent offenses can result in up to $1,000 fines and a potential suspension of the driver’s license for up to 90 days. If the driver caused any injury from the act, they receive in additional fine up to $1,000 or $5,000 depending on the severity of the injury. If it resulted in death, the driver is fined up to $10,000.

Drivers who break the law are liable for any damages they cause. If a driver broke the Steer Clear Law and caused any harm to you or your vehicle from doing so, they should compensate for any pain and suffering you’ve endured as a result.