Officials: New law aims to protect stranded motorists, wrecker services

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Experts with AAA Oklahoma are warning drivers to pay attention to a law that will go into effect later this week.

Senate Bill 89 orders drivers who are approaching all stationary vehicles displaying flashing lights to move into a lane that is not adjacent to the stationary vehicle. If no additional lane exists, drivers must proceed with caution, reduce their speed and safely navigate traffic conditions.

Officials with AAA Oklahoma say stranded motorists and employees with wrecker services have a better chance of avoiding being hit by oncoming vehicles once the law goes into effect on Friday, Nov. 1.

“A previous version of the statute stipulated specific types of vehicles and colors of flashing lights to be avoided,” said Leslie Gamble, AAA Oklahoma public and government affairs manager. “Yet, at speeds on our highways, it’s usually impossible for motorists to distinguish those nuances. This simplifies the law so that caution must be extended to anyone with flashing lights in a stationary vehicle on the roadside.”

If you are caught violating the law, you could face up to a $249 fine.

“Our dedicated AAA Roadside Rescue team and other first responders risk their lives daily while assisting stranded motorists,” Gamble said. “This law protects all involved in roadside situations who are at high risk and need drivers’ full assistance in making all possible efforts to avoid impacted areas.”

Last year, 43-year-old Jonathan B. Taylor was struck and killed by a distracted driver in Rogers County.

“He was doing everything right. His truck was positioned off the roadway, he had safety cones set up and there’s no need for this,” Trooper Trent Short, with the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, told KJRH.

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