The Washington City Council approved an ordinance establishing an active emergency zone in the city.
Police Chief Ken Hahn explained to the council during its meeting Monday night, that the ordinance simply mirrors a recently passed state law.
The ordinance establishes penalties for committing certain offenses within an emergency zone that would endanger emergency responders.
An “active emergency” is defined as any incident occurring on a highway that requires emergency services from any emergency responder.
The zone is any area around the highway visibly marked by emergency responders performing work and where an emergency or incident removal is occurring.
The area includes the lanes of a highway leading up to an active emergency or incident removal, beginning within 300 feet of visual sighting of appropriate signs or traffic control devices posted or placed by emergency responders; or an emergency vehicle displaying active emergency lights or signals.
The ordinance states that a first offense could result in a $35 fine in addition to any other fines that could be assessed. A second and subsequent offense would result in a $75 fine.
Any person speeding in an active emergency zone could be fined up to $250.
Drivers are prohibited from passing other vehicles in an active emergency zone.
Drivers are also in violation of the law if they fail to stop for an emergency zone flagman or responder or fail to obey traffic control devices;
Drive through or around an active emergency zone via any lane not clearly designated for motorists to control the flow of traffic through or around the emergency zone; or
Intentionally strike, move or alter barrels, barriers, signs or other devices erected to control the flow of traffic.
Those who violate this portion of the law would be subject to a fine of not more than $500.
There was no discussion on the ordinance. It passed 8-0.