State Assembly Bill 297 aims to improve highway safety with penalty increase

Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 6:09 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2021 at 7:06 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - Assembly Bill 297 passed the State Senate last week, and it is expected to make its way to the Governor’s desk sometime this week if it passes the State Assembly. Lawmakers are hopeful the bill would help encourage drivers to obey the Move Over law.

The legislation increases the penalties for traffic violations that happen near emergency zones--which are set up 500 feet in front and behind an authorized emergency vehicle with flashing lights, such as a fire truck, police unit or tow truck.

If a driver causes a crash that hurts someone, the legislation says the driver could be fined no more than $10,000, face up to nine months in prison or both. It also calls for Public Service Announcements to help the public become aware of the changes

“The public needs to respect that they’re doing tough work helping folks when they’re in need and make sure that they pay attention,” said Senator Joan Ballweg, 14th Senate District.

The final version of the bill does not include a speed limit clause. Senator Ballweg explained there were some lawmakers concerned with setting up temporary speed limits during an emergency as there’s less opportunity for the traveling public to get used to it, as they would with temporary construction zone speed limits.

Senator Ballweg said the State Assembly could approve the bill as early as Tuesday. She said once the Governor signs the bill, it will go into effect right away.

CLICK HERE to read the full legislation.

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