GREAT FALLS — We all have been on the road and heard sirens - first responders including law enforcement, fire/rescue, and ambulances. But do we remember what to do?
The law requires drivers to move into the lane that is furthest from the first responders or towing vehicles on the side of the road and slow down to an appropriate speed.
Clay Bott of the Great Falls Police Department, said, “In Montana, the law is that if you're able to move over, you need to move into the furthest lane away from the emergency vehicles. If you're not able to move over, you need to slow down to an appropriate speed.”
The law states:
(1) Upon the approach of an authorized emergency vehicle making use of audible and visual signals...the operator of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the right-hand edge or curb of the roadway clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in that position until the authorized emergency vehicle or law enforcement vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer or highway patrol officer.
(2) This section does not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle or law enforcement vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.
(3) On approaching and passing a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, law enforcement vehicle, or tow truck that is displaying visible signals of flashing or rotating amber, blue, red, or green lights or any temporary sign advising of an emergency scene or accident ahead, the operator of the approaching vehicle shall:
(a) cautiously and in a careful manner reduce the vehicle's speed to a reasonably lower and safe speed appropriate to the road and visual conditions or to the temporarily posted speed limit, but to a careful and prudent speed if a temporarily posted speed has not been posted;
(b) proceed with caution; and
(c) if possible considering safety and traffic conditions:
(i) move to a lane that is not adjacent to the lane in which the authorized emergency vehicle,law enforcement vehicle, or tow truck is located;
(ii) move as far away from the authorized emergency vehicle,law enforcement vehicle, or tow truck as possible; or
(iii) follow flagger instructions or instructions on sign boards.
(4) An operator of a vehicle who violates subsection (3) commits the offense of reckless endangerment of emergency personnel.