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Police: Slow down around cruisers

HANCOCK — Police Chief Andrew Wood is urging drivers to slow down when they see a police cruiser or rescue vehicles stopped on the side of a road. Too many drivers, he says, are going right by at high speeds, which not only endangers lives but also violates the law.

“Safety is imperative at traffic stops or where a road is blocked,” Wood said on Thursday. “We need to be mindful of emergency personnel. Someone is going to get injured if drivers don’t slow down and move over.”

Wood said he issued a ticket to a driver earlier in the week who had gone by his cruiser just as he was preparing to pull out after making a traffic stop.

“The wind turbulence shook my vehicle,” he said.

Section 265:37-a of the state’s traffic laws states that drivers must reduce speed when they approach an incident involving emergency personnel or where a police officer has made a traffic stop. The law states that drivers must “give a wide berth, without endangering oncoming traffic, to public safety personnel, any persons in the roadway and stationary vehicles displaying blue, red or amber emergency or warning lights.”

Wood said he intends to enforce that law, which could lead to a fines of $40 to $200, with the possibility of a fine as high as $1,000, depending on the circumstances.

“There has to be better and smarter compliance by drivers,” he said.

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