A bill on the move in Nebraska would end the state’s distinction as being one of the few remaining holdouts from states that require drivers to make room for emergency workers and law enforcement officers.
The Legislature’s Transportation and Telecommunications voted 5-2 to advance a bill that would mandate drivers to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed before passing emergency crews, law enforcement, roadside assistance vehicles or tow trucks parked by the road with lights flashing. On two-lane highways, drivers would be required to slow to “maintain a safe speed and proceed with caution.”
The “Move Over/Slow Down” initiative is designed to protect police and other emergency personnel during roadside stops.
Failure to obey the rule would result in fines up to $100. Repeat offenders would face fines up to $500 and seven days in jail.
Exceptions would be made when traffic, road or weather conditions prevent drivers from moving over.
An amendment added to the bill would drop the requirement that the law couldn’t be enforced until signs notifying drivers have been posted. Advocates for the change questioned the cost of such signs.
A fiscal note on the bill indicates that 41 signs would be required at a total cost estimated to be $82,000.
About 40 states have implemented similar safety zone rules with most others considering their own rules.
The Nebraska bill – LB786 – is awaiting consideration before the full chamber.
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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor