It's National Traffic Incident Response Week!

Most of us know to some extent that we need to slow down when an emergency vehicle is approaching, but do you know exactly what the law says? The Federal Highway Administration has declared the week of November 13-19, 2017, to be National Traffic Incident Response Week. The goal of the week is to raise awareness regarding the proper response when sharing the road with first responders. This week aims to remind drivers that they need to slow down and pull over, as well as help drivers be more aware of what laws their state specifically has in regard to emergency vehicles on the road. 

Michigan Car Crash Lawyer

According to Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), traffic incidents are the number one cause of death for EMT/EMS responders, and one of the leading causes of death for police officers. Nearly 13% of police officers and firefighters who die in the line of duty are killed in traffic incidents. OHS also notes that traffic incident managers often report that drivers simply are just unaware of the laws, in their state, regarding what to do if they are involved in an automobile accident. OHS suggests the following steps drivers can take in order to make the roads safer for first responders.

How Drivers Can Minimize First Responder Dangers

  • If you can steer it, clear it: After a fender-bender or crash, if (and only if) your car is driveable and there are no injuries, move your car to the shoulder or a nearby safe place off the road. Many drivers think they should not move their car until the police arrive and they can make an accident report, but this is false and can put drivers, their cars, and other people at risk.

  • Slow down and move over: When you pass by an incident scene and/or see lights, vests, or reflectors, slow down and move over. This provides a protective buffer for you, for emergency responders, and for the motorists behind you. You can get a ticket if you don't slow down and move over.

  • Drive safely: As always, drive sober and without distractions such as cell phones. Use your seat belt and stay aware of your surroundings.

Detroit Car Crash Lawyer

In the state of Michigan, there is a law on the books specifically regarding emergency vehicles. The Emergency Vehicle Caution Law, also known as the Move Over Law, applies to police, fire, rescue, ambulance, and road service vehicles.

Michigan Move Over Law

On Roads With Two or More Lanes of Travel in the Same Direction

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated carefully move over into an open lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

On Roads With One Lane of Travel in Each Direction

  • When approaching a stationary emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated carefully move over into an open adjacent lane.

  • If this is not possible due to traffic, weather, or road conditions, slow down and pass with caution, allowing the emergency vehicle as much space as possible.

Drivers who violate the law face misdemeanor penalties. This can result in 4 points going on the driver’s license and/or fees and fines of up to $150. If violation of the law results in injury or death of a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency response person, the driver could face 15 years in prison and/or a fine of $7500.

First responders are there to keep us safe, especially if we find ourselves involved in a motor vehicle accident. As drivers, we need to repay the favor by making sure that first responders are safe when they’re on our roads. Being aware of your state’s laws so you know exactly what you need to do is best for keeping first responders safe, as well as keeping you out of legal trouble. By keeping first responders safe, we're helping them keep us safe.


While first responders are there to keep us safe in the event of a car collisions, they can't prevent them from happening. If you have been involved in an automobile accident call The Michigan Law Firm, PLLC at 844.4MI.FIRM for a free legal consultation  with an experienced accident attorney today.