346.072 Passing stopped emergency vehicles, tow trucks and highway machinery equipment.
(1) If an authorized emergency vehicle giving visual signal, a tow truck flashing red lamps, as required by s. 347.26 (6) (b), or any road machinery or motor vehicle used in highway construction or maintenance displaying the lights specified in s. 347.23 (1) (a) or (b) or, with respect to a motor vehicle, displaying the lights specified in s. 347.26 (7), is parked or standing on or within 12 feet of a roadway, the operator of a motor vehicle approaching such vehicle or machinery shall proceed with due regard for all other traffic and shall do either of the following:
(a) Move the motor vehicle into a lane that is not the lane nearest the parked or standing vehicle or machinery and continue traveling in that lane until safely clear of the vehicle or machinery. This paragraph applies only if the roadway has at least two lanes for traffic proceeding in the direction of the approaching motor vehicle and if the approaching motor vehicle may change lanes safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.
346.072(1)(b) (b) Slow the motor vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for traffic conditions, and operate the motor vehicle at a reduced speed until completely past the vehicle or machinery. This paragraph applies only if the roadway has only one lane for traffic proceeding in the direction of the approaching motor vehicle or if the approaching motor vehicle may not change lanes safely and without interfering with any vehicular traffic.
(2) In addition to any penalty imposed under s. 346.17 (2), any person violating this section shall have his or her operating privilege suspended as provided in s. 343.30 (1o).
A message from the Wisconsin DOT: Drivers must provide a safety zone for stopped law enforcement, emergency and maintenance vehicles
To help safeguard law enforcement officers, emergency responders, road maintenance workers, and others who work on the side of highways, Wisconsin has a "Move Over Law."
The law requires drivers to shift lanes or slow down in order to provide a "safety zone" for a squad car, ambulance, fire truck, tow truck or highway maintenance vehicle that is stopped on the side of a road with its warning lights flashing.
Drivers have two options for creating a safety zone:
- If the road has more than one directional lane, like the Interstate, and you can switch lanes safely, you must move over to vacate the lane closest to the law enforcement or other vehicle with its lights flashing.
- If the road has a single directional lane or you can't safely move over, you must reduce your speed.
Failure of motorists to move over is one of the reasons that motor vehicle crashes kill more law enforcement officers on duty than any other cause.