Subject: Overtaking Emergency VehiclesDate: 06-23-2011
From: Cindee Brown-MillsCase or Incident: #n/a
In 2010, fourty-nine (49) police officers were killed in automobile accidents and fourteen (14) were stuck by vehicles. Many of these happened while the officer was conducting a traffic stop. In an effort to prevent this from happening in Juneau, JPD would like to remind motorists of Alaska Statute (AS) 28.35.185 Overtaking and Passing Certain Stationary Vehicles. This law says when an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road with its emergency lights activated, a driver is required to vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle if possible or slow down to a prudent speed given the traffic, roadway, and weather conditions.

For example, a police officer stops a vehicle and the patrol car is on the right shoulder of the Egan Drive. Approaching motorists must vacate the right lane of travel and merge to the left lane. If there is another car in the left lane and the motorist cannot change lanes he is required to slow down to a prudent speed. The purpose of this statute is to provide a safe zone for the officer and occupants of the stopped vehicle.

JPD officers will be actively enforcing this statute. Violations can result in a citation with a mandatory court appearance. If a person is hurt because the motorist did not follow the law, it is a class A Misdemeanor.
All factual allegations contained in this release are based upon preliminary investigation and are subject to change or clarification as the investigation continues.    Any charges reported in this release are merely accusations and all persons named in this release are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.*** END OF STATEMENT ***