LANSING, Mich. — Michigan drivers would be required to slow down and move over when approaching a vehicle with amber flashing lights under legislation introduced on Wednesday by Sen. Dale Zorn.
“This is about helping save lives,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “Stopping on the side of a road or highway and getting out of a service vehicle as traffic zips past you is dangerous and can be deadly. That is why Michigan already requires drivers to take safety precautions in construction areas and when passing a stopped police car or ambulance with their lights on.
“My bill will require drivers to take the same care around vehicles with amber flashing lights, like tow trucks and utility vehicles.”
Drivers in Michigan are currently required to move over a lane to the left if there is a stationary authorized emergency vehicle with flashing red, blue or white lights on the side of the road. If the road does not have a passing lane, or if moving over is impossible, then a driver shall pass with due care and caution at a reduced and safe speed. Violators can face up to 90 days in jail, a fine of up to $500 or both.
Senate Bill 477 would add vehicles with flashing amber lights to the current law and require drivers to slow down by a least 10 miles per hour when approaching and passing a stopped emergency vehicle.
Zorn said that in January a tow truck driver on I-94 near Ypsilanti was hit by a van while assisting a disabled vehicle. The tow truck was parked on the shoulder with its amber emergency lights on.
“Tow truck drivers should not have to risk serious injury or death while helping a stranded motorist on a highway,” Zorn said. “If you see a vehicle ahead with flashing lights — whether it’s a law enforcement, firefighter or tow truck driver — slow down and, if possible, move over.”
SB 477 has been sent to the Senate Transportation Committee for consideration.