The Law.

RCW 46.61.212 Approaching stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and police vehicles The driver of any motor vehicle, upon approaching any stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is making use of audible and/or visual signals, a tow truck that is making use of visual red lights, other vehicles providing roadside assistance that are making use of warning lights with three hundred sixty degree visibility, or a police vehicle properly and lawfully displaying a flashing, blinking, or alternating emergency light or lights, shall: On a highway having four or more lanes, at least two of which are intended for traffic proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle, proceed with caution and, if reasonable, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change or moving away from the lane or shoulder occupied by the stationary authorized emergency vehicle or police vehicle;

On a highway having less than four lanes, proceed with caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle, and, if reasonable, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, and under the rules of this chapter, yield the right-of-way by passing to the left at a safe distance and simultaneously yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the highway; or If changing lanes or moving away would be unreasonable or unsafe, proceed with due  caution and reduce the speed of the vehicle.


The original Move Over Law was passed in 2007 in an effort to protect emergency workers who were stopped on the highways conducting their business. Since 2007, the number of collisions involving emergency vehicles and workers has increased instead of decreasing. In 2010, legislation was submitted and passed to amend the old law to include an “Emergency Zone.” The Emergency Zone Law was passed in the aftermath of growing numbers of police, emergency technicians, tow operators, and Department of Transportation workers being killed or struck during routine traffic stops, collision/accident response, impounding/ towing vehicles, and highway construction projects.


An Emergency Zone is defined as the adjacent lanes of the roadway 200 feet (10 car lengths) before and after a stationary emergency vehicle with flashing lights, a tow truck using red lights, an emergency assistance vehicle using warning lights, or any police vehicle using emergency lights. The fine doubles for vehicles exceeding the posted speed limit in an Emergency Zone.


If a motorist is stopped by a law enforcement officer for violating the Emergency Zone Law, the driver may receive an infraction. The penalty for the infraction is a monetary fine set by the state’s legislature. You can receive any of the following penalties:

  • Fines for exceeding the posted speed limit are doubled in Emergency Zones.
  • Failure to move over or slow down in an Emergency Zone, the fine is doubled.
  • Motorists could be charged with Reckless Endangerment if driving in a manner as to endanger any emergency worker.
  • If convicted of Reckless Endangerment, you could have your driver’s license suspended for 90 days

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