Saturday, July 8, 2017

Legislation Increases "Steer Clear" Law Penalties

Legislation that would increase fines and penalties for repeat violators of Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear” Law has been signed into law.

Senator John Rafferty (R), who chairs the Senate Transportation Committee,  and sponsored SB 288, is intended to crack down on those repeat offenders who violate the “Steer Clear” Law. This common-sense law that has been in effect since 2001 requires drivers to slow down and move into a lane not adjacent to an emergency response area, when possible. If motorists cannot move over because of traffic or other conditions, then they must reduce their speed.

“The ‘Steer Clear’ Law is intended to save lives and prevent accidents, but unfortunately, the number of incidents is continuing to increase dramatically,” Rafferty mentioned. “According to PennDOT, from 2013 to 2015, total charges rose by more than 85 percent. The steeper fines and license suspension included in this legislation should act as a deterrent against repeat offenders, while also providing another opportunity to educate drivers on the ‘Steer Clear’ Law.”

Rafferty’s legislation will:
- Maintain a fine of not more than $250 for a first offense.
- Set a maximum fine of $500 for a second offense.
- Establish a maximum fine of $1,000 for a third or subsequent offense.
- Introduce a 90 day license suspension for a third or subsequent offense or if the violation resulted in serious bodily injury to or death of another person.

“This law is being strengthened to coincide with the seriousness of each violation to help protect law enforcement, tow truck operators, highway workers and other emergency personnel who put themselves in harm’s way,” Rafferty noted. “It is the motorists’ responsibility to slow down and move over when they encounter an emergency response area on roadways in this Commonwealth.”

The bill was unanimously passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.