ENID, Okla. — Motorists stranded on roadsides in Oklahoma and those, including wrecker services, assisting them soon will have a better chance of avoiding being hit by oncoming vehicles.

Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed Senate Bill 89 into law effective Nov. 1. It requires motorists 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, motorists must proceed with caution, reducing their speed to safely navigate traffic conditions.

According to Oklahoma Highway Safety Office, in 2017 10,089 crashes in Oklahoma involved people on the side of the road.

“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.”

Sen. Brent Howard, R-Altus, and Rep. Charles Ortega, R-Altus, authored the measure after learning of the issues from AAA and members of the Traffic Incident Management System Coalition.

“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.”

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Rains is police and court reporter for the Enid News & Eagle. Follow him on Twitter, @cassrains.
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