RUSH CITY, Minn. (KMSP) - In Minnesota, it is state law to move over for stopped emergency vehicles with their flashing lights activated, including ambulance, fire, law enforcement, maintenance and construction vehicles and tow trucks. Apparently, not enough people are unaware of this law. We’ve unfortunately reported on three incidents this year of drivers failing to move over, in some cases contributing to deaths or injuries:
January: Deputy says cars didn’t move over, woman in ambulance died
February: Truck nearly collides with stopped squad car, drivers on I-94
May: Twin Cities tow truck driver survives close call on I-694
The latest law-breaking example comes from the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office. A deputy was responding to help his partner who was fighting with a mentally disturbed person on the side of Interstate 35 near Rush City, Minn. But the deputy was unable to respond as quickly as he could have because a pickup truck in the left lane failed to move over. Traffic was heavy in the right lane, preventing the deputy from being able to pass the truck for nearly a minute.
“Please pay attention while you're driving. Please check your mirrors on a frequent basis for emergency vehicles that may be coming behind you. Please remember to move over to the right and yield to emergency vehicles,” the sheriff’s office said. “The frustration of not being able to get to the scene as quickly as possible only adds to the stress of the situation.”
According to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, if the road has two or more lanes, drivers are required to keep one full lane between them and stopped emergency vehicles or reduce their speed if they are unable to safely move over.
Drivers that fail to slow down or move over face fines of more than $100.