OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A measure that imposes harsher fines on drivers who endanger emergency workers has been approved by the Senate.

House Bill 2684, which is also known as the Bernardo-Mills Law, establishes fines for those who endanger emergency workers by failing to slow down or move over for stopped emergency vehicles.

“Too often, our police officers, firefighters, paramedics, tow truck operators and other responders are put in harm’s way while responding to emergencies on Oklahoma’s roadways,” Sen. Blake Stephens, (R-Tahlequah,) said. “We want to ensure they can do their job safely, and by drivers slowing down and being more attentive, we hope to see less accidents, injuries and deaths of our selfless first responders.”

Under HB 2684, if a person is found guilty of endangering an emergency worker, they can face fines of $1,000 for their first offense, $2,500 for their second offense, and $5,000 if they hit or injure an emergency worker.

If an emergency worker is killed as a result of the endangerment, the driver could face a $10,000 fine.

“We want to do everything in our power to protect our first responders, second responders and emergency workers working on our highways,” Rep. Neil Hays, (R-Checotah,) said. “The bill is named after John Mills, a tow truck driver from my House district who was killed working along Highway 69. I hope with the passage of this bill, it will encourage Oklahoma drivers to stay engaged and to pay better attention on our highways. I want to thank Senator Stephens for helping me run this bill to recognize John Mills’ legacy.”

Right now, violators of the state’s ‘move over’ law could face a Class 2 misdemeanor and a minimum fine of $275.

The measure now heads back to the House for further consideration.