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The "Steer Cleer" Law in Pennsylvania

Many drivers across the U.S. have become familiar with the "Move Over" laws that help to protect emergency workers on our highways. The state of Pennsylvania has their version of that same law, and it's called "Steer Clear." The law enacted in PA requires drivers who are approaching a standing emergency vehicle with visible flashing lights and that is traveling in the same direction they are to move over to the closest lane if it is safe to do so. You must adhere by this law even when you are approaching tow trucks and recovery vehicles. If you are unable to "move over," then you are required to slow down to a speed safe for road, weather and traffic conditions.

What does the "Steer Clear" law mean for Pennsylvania drivers? The law is designed to protect not only police officers, but also other emergency workers stopped alongside the highway. It requires drivers to proceed with caution when an emergency vehicle is stopped with its lights flashing.

It is your duty as a responsible driver to adhere to the following rules of the road.

What "Steer Clear" means to the PA driver:

  • When approaching or passing an emergency response area, a driver unless otherwise directed by an emergency service responder will need to pass in a lane not adjacent to that of the emergency response area, if possible. If passing in a nonadjacent lane is impossible, illegal or unsafe, pass the emergency response area at a careful and prudent reduced speed that is reasonable for safely passing the emergency response area.
  • Any person violating this law is committing a summary offense and, if convicted, will have to pay fine of not exceeding $250.
  • The department can suspend the operating privilege of any person for 90 days upon receiving a certified record of the driver's conviction, adjudication of delinquency or admission into a pre-adjudication program for the violation, if the certified conviction indicates the violation resulted in serious injury to another person. End result, you will have to surrender your PA driver's license.
  • An emergency response area will be clearly marked with road flares, caution signs or any other traffic-control device which law enforcement officials may have at their immediate disposal. They may also use visual signals.

Terms and Definitions --"Steer Clear" Law

Emergency response area

The area in which emergency service responders render emergency assistance to individuals on or near a roadway, or where a police officer is conducting a traffic stop or systematic check of vehicles, as long as the emergency vehicle is making use of visuals.

Emergency service responder

An individual acting in an official capacity as police officer, sheriff, deputy sheriff, coroner, deputy coroner, firefighter, fire police, fire marshal, medical examiner, deputy medical examiner, rescue personnel, ambulance personnel, towing and recovery personnel, highway maintenance and construction personnel, hazardous material response team member or emergency medical service personnel.

Serious injury

A personal injury resulting in death, serious impairment of body function or permanent serious disfigurement.

To learn more about the "Steer Clear" law in Pennsylvania, you can find the above mentioned, as well as additional information, at: http://www.portal.state.pa.us/portal/server.pt?open=512&objID=4451&PageID=459737&mode=2.