HARRISBURG (7/5/2012) — A bill sponsored by Rep. Todd Stephens (R-Montgomery) to protect first-responders by fining motorists who ignore temporary police barricades and drive through flooded areas during and after storms was signed into law by Governor Tom Corbett.
“This is a major victory for our police and emergency workers who place their lives on the line to rescue drivers who ignore temporary barricades and become trapped in flood waters,” Stephens said. “This has become a growing problem that must be addressed.”
Police in Montgomery County have reported many motorists driving around road-closed signs, only to find themselves trapped by floodwaters. Often emergency responders are forced to come to the drivers’ rescue.
Last year, the National Guard was called into Montgomery County to rescue three emergency responders who had gone into flood waters to rescue others.
Stephens introduced House Bill 2199, also known as “Turn Around, Don’t Drown,” when the issue was brought to his attention by Upper Dublin Township Manager and first-responder, Paul Leonard.
Senate Transportation Committee Chairman, Sen. John Rafferty, also of Montgomery County, is a long-time supporter of emergency service providers and was instrumental in moving the bill through the Senate.
The bill ensures that anyone who requires rescue, towing or medical care after ignoring a barricade or warning sign would be fined $250-$500 and have points assessed to their driving record.
The law takes effect in 60 days.