It is illegal in most states across the country to pass an authorized emergency vehicle in the lane directly next to them going more than 20 MPH. If you are driving along any size roadway, in terms of amount of lanes, you are responsible for slowing down when approaching an authorized emergency vehicle on the side of the road with their lights on or guide your vehicle to the lane to your left. If you are on a two-lane roadway, one lane in each direction, slow your vehicle to less than 20 MPH when passing an authorized emergency vehicle since you will not be able to move to a lane away from the vehicle. If you are operating a vehicle on a roadway with two lanes in each direction, slow to less than 20 MPH and carefully switch to the far left lane, away from the emergency vehicle.
The fines and penalties for passing an authorized emergency vehicle without slowing to 20 MPH or moving over one lane vary from state to state but are similar in some instances. The violator of this law is guilty of a misdemeanor and can be fined anywhere from $100-$500, can be imprisoned for no more than 90 days in jail, or can have both penalties levied at the same time. If this violation causes injury to a police officer, firefighter, or another emergency person then the violator will be subject to a fine of $1,000 or imprisonment for no more than two years in jail or have both penalties levied at the same time. If the violation causes the death of a police officer, a firefighter, or another emergency person then the violator will be subject to a fine no more than $7,500, imprisonment of no more than 15 years, or have both fines levied at the same time.
As with the majority of all other moving violations, passing an authorized emergency vehicle produces two points on the violator's license if given a traffic ticket from an officer. If 12 points are accumulated on a driver's license at any one time then the license will be suspended with notice. When a motorist is cited for a traffic violation their insurance company can access this information and determine whether or not to raise insurance rates for the driver. The points will remain active on the license for a period of three years and will be removed after a fourth year.
If you or a loved one has been issued a traffic ticket for passing an authorized emergency vehicle, contact a traffic tickets attorney immediately for expert legal counsel regarding your case today. The attorney will investigate your case, examine your driving record, and then determine the further course of action.