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State College Police Enforce Steer Clear Law Thursday

by on July 17, 2014 1:30 PM

The State College Police Department spent Thursday morning enforcing the Steer Clear Law – a rule that requires drivers to move over or slow down when they encounter an emergency scene, traffic stop or disabled vehicle.

The law applies any time an emergency vehicle has its lights flashing and where road crews or emergency personnel have lighted flares, posted signs or tried to warn motorists.

State College Police Sgt. Chris Hill says from 7 to 10 a.m., a handful of police officers conducted a Steer Clear detail on Route 322 at the westbound Oak Hall exit.

Fifteen speeding citations were issued, as well as seven Steer Clear citations. Four warnings were issued in the three-hour time frame.

Hill says one officer would pull over drivers who were speeding and turn on his lights along the side of the road. Another would watch passing drivers to make sure they switched into an adjacent lane, if possible, or slowed down.

Those in violation of the Steer Clear Law were given citations, Hill says.

Citations come with a fine of up to $250, doubling of fines for other traffic violations occurring in emergency response areas and a 90-day license suspension if the violation results in injury to workers.

The law has been in place in Pennsylvania for several years because of safety concerns for emergency responders and automobile drivers. Similar Steer Clear laws are in place in other states across the country.

Hill says some drivers who were pulled over were aware of the law while others weren't. Similar Steer Clear details will be planned in the future.

"The burden falls upon people to know the laws of the road," Hill says.

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Jessica Tully recently graduated from Penn State with degrees in journalism and political science. She is a frequent contributor to StateCollege.com and has also reported for USA TODAY, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Onward State and The Daily Collegian.
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