New Law Protects Stranded Motorists and Their Rescuers
October 30, 2019 - -Motorists stranded on the roadside in Oklahoma and those, including wrecker services, assisting them have a better chance of avoiding being hit by oncoming vehicles starting Friday.
With leadership from AAA and other state traffic safety organizations, the Oklahoma legislature passed Senate Bill 89 last session. Effective Friday, Nov. 1, it requires motorists approaching all stationary vehicles displaying flashing lights to move into a lane that is not adjacent to the stationary vehicle. If no additional lane exists, motorists must proceed with caution, reducing their speed to safely navigate traffic conditions.
“A previous version of the statute stipulated specific types of vehicles and colors of flashing lights to be avoided,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma public and government affairs manager. “Yet, at speeds on our highways, it’s usually impossible for motorists to distinguish those nuances. This simplifies the law so that caution must be extended to anyone with flashing lights in a stationary vehicle on the roadside.”
Sen. Brent Howard and Rep. Charles Ortega authored the measure after learning of the issues from AAA and members of the Traffic Incident Management System (TIMS) Coalition.
Those violating the law are subject to a fine of $249 if ticketed by law enforcement.
“Our dedicated AAA Roadside Rescue team and other first responders risk their lives daily while assisting stranded motorists,” Gamble said. “This law protects all involved in roadside situations who are at high risk and need drivers’ full assistance in making all possible efforts to avoid impacted areas.” AAA has responded to more than 204,000 roadside assistance calls so far this year in Oklahoma.