Drivers responding to stiffer penalties for 'Move Over' law - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Drivers responding to stiffer penalties for 'Move Over' law

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"There's no warning for it; we're going to cite you," said Trooper Mark Sigwarth with the Iowa State Patrol. "People don't understand how dangerous it is to be standing here on the side of the road." "There's no warning for it; we're going to cite you," said Trooper Mark Sigwarth with the Iowa State Patrol. "People don't understand how dangerous it is to be standing here on the side of the road."
BLACK HAWK COUNTY (KWWL) -

When Jesse Hurtado heads to work at Ray Mount Towing, he expects to come home in one piece.

"It's kind of scary sometimes," said Hurtado.

As a tow truck driver, Hurtado often stops on busy highways to tow vehicles. He expects drivers to respect his work space, but he isn't seeing that.

"Everybody is in a hurry to get somewhere," he said. "They don't want to slow down for anybody else."

A KWWL crew spent 15 minutes with him out on Highway 20 in Black Hawk County.

Even with his bright-flashing lights, at least five vehicles didn't move over in that time.

"There's no warning for it; we're going to cite you," said Trooper Mark Sigwarth with the Iowa State Patrol. "People don't understand how dangerous it is to be standing here on the side of the road."

The new fines enacted last year are expensive. If someone's hurt because a driver didn't move over, it's a $500 fine. If someone dies, the fine is $1000.

That's a big change from the old $195 fine.

Sigwarth said, although they do their best to catch these drivers, it's still tough.

"If I have a violator that is stopped, I have to finish up with that violation before I can go to the next one if someone fails to move over," said Sigwarth.

According to the Iowa State Patrol in 2011, 310 citations were written. In 2012, that dropped to just 152 citations. That's nearly a 50 percent decrease since the new penalties were enacted.

Still, Sigwarth says it needs to be better.

"There's no excuse for it," he said. "There is absolutely no excuse. We are out here to promote safety and do the job to keep people safe, yet we're getting hit. We're getting struck or near misses because people aren't doing what they're supposed to, and that's to pay attention and drive."

Sigwarth says drivers need to be aware especially this time of year. He says the Fourth of July is the second-deadliest holiday on the roads, and suggested we all stay off our phones and pay attention.

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