Police and first responders plea for people to pay attention while on roadways

Published: Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:50 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 7, 2021 at 4:55 PM CST
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - When police are conducting a traffic stop or a fire truck is trying to get somewhere quick, getting out of their way is not just the courteous thing to do it’s the law.

It’s something that can’t be stressed enough. Knowing what to do while on the road with first responders and police doing their jobs is essential to everyone’s safety.

“You know a lot of times we see troopers get severely injured in crashes when people fail to move over and strike the troopers unit. As well as the driver who is stopped,” said Louisiana State Trooper Taylor Scrantz.

Trooper Scrantz says it’s a hazard he’s well familiar with.

“When we work speed interdiction on the Atchafalaya Basin Bridge, the shoulders are very tight up there. And when 18-wheelers fail to move over that really puts us in a hazardous situation. Several times troopers have been struck on the basin bridge. I was never personally struck but I’ve had a few side mirrors knocked off as well,” Scrantz explained.

When you see an officer on the side of the road conducting a traffic stop, the law says you need to move over to the next available lane as quickly as possible. The same thing applies to emergency vehicles like firetrucks and ambulances who are trying to get somewhere fast. But sometimes traffic is so tight, there’s nowhere for you to move.

“Obviously if there’s traffic in the right lane and you cannot do so, please do so when it is safe to move over. The worst thing you could possibly do is stop in the lane of travel or go into the median because that’s going to result in a crash,” Scrantz continued.

Scrantz says this is something taught every day in drivers education courses; however, some folks still struggle to remember.

“What a lot of people don’t understand is you can actually be written a citation for failure to move over. It’s Louisiana revised statute 32:125 and that specific statute is labeled failure to yield to an emergency vehicle,” said Scrantz.

Breaking this law is considered a class two misdemeanor and can be met with a hefty fine of $250 plus court costs. The fine can be even higher if you hit the vehicle or the responder on the scene.

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