Hefty Fines For Endangering Roadside Emergency Workers Set to Take Effect in November
KOKH - October 24, 2023 6:21 am
OKLAHOMA CITY- (KOKH) — “This law is strictly designed to catch your attention,” said State Representative Neil Hays.
If the law itself doesn’t catch your attention, then maybe the fine that you have to pay if you’re found guilty of failing to slow down or move over will. Starting November 1, if a person is found guilty of endangering an emergency worker on the roadways, they can face fines of $1,000 for their first offense.
“We want everyone working along the sides of our highways to be able to do their job, come home safely. Everybody deserves the right to have a safe work environment,” he said.
The $1,000 fine is a significant hike from the current fine, which is only $250. The fines only become more costly for repeat offenders, with the fine being $2,500 for the second offense.
“We got to understand, we’ve got firefighters, we’ve got law enforcement, we’ve got [the] Turnpike authority that’s moving debris out of our highways, keeping us safe,” said State Senator Blake Stephens.
In addition, there is a $5,000 fine if a driver hits and injures an emergency worker, and a $10,000 fine if an emergency worker is killed as a result of the endangerment, not to mention any potential charges that might come from such an incident. Hays says these kinds of workers already have to face enough as it is.
“Our first responders and tow truck operators go through enough safety hazards in the line of duty. They do not need to have people driving alongside the highways, not paying attention, causing them greater harm,” he said.
Before being signed into law, the bill was named after John Mills, a tow truck driver from Hays’s house district who was killed working along Highway 69.