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3:30 AM Fri, Sept. 21st

Prescott police warn they'll ticket motorists who pass traffic stops unlawfully

Consider yourself warned: The Prescott Police Department is beginning a zero tolerance program when motorists fail to pull into the far lane or slow down as they pass an officer pulled over on a traffic stop.

Arizona law 28-775E states that if a driver approaches a stationary emergency vehicle with flashing lights, the driver shall either change to a lane not adjacent to the stopped emergency vehicle or, if changing lanes is not possible, slow down.

"The code is designed to keep emergency workers safe," Lt. Ken Morley, Prescott Police Department spokesman, said in an email. "This includes police officers on traffic stops."

To make certain Prescott motorists get the message, the department is actively looking for violators by sending a second police car out when other officers are involved in a traffic stop, he said. "The second car may float in the area of the original stop or it may be stopped with the first car waiting for a violator," Morley explained.

"The intent is to watch out for each other," Morley continued. "Officers believe that most drivers do slow down and change lanes, but a lot of drivers don't. The drivers who don't can expect a citation and a fine. Officers will have no reservations about issuing citations."