PA 09-121—HB 5894

Transportation Committee

Judiciary Committee


SUMMARY: This act requires a motorist approaching one or more stationary emergency vehicles located on the travel lane, breakdown lane, or shoulder of a highway with three or more travel lanes to (1) immediately slow to a reasonable speed below the posted speed limit and (2) if traveling in the lane adjacent to the location of the emergency vehicle, move over one lane, unless this would be unreasonable or unsafe.

For these requirements to apply, the emergency vehicle must have flashing lights activated. Under the act, an “emergency vehicle” includes a vehicle:

1. operated by a member of an emergency medical service organization responding to an emergency call;

2. operated by a fire department or by an officer of the department responding to a fire or other emergency;

3. operated by a sworn member of the State Police or an organized local police department;

4. that is a maintenance vehicle; or

5. that is a licensed wrecker.

A subsequent act broadened the provision as it applies to police officers to include other types of law enforcement officers such as Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) inspectors and appointed constables who perform criminal law enforcement duties (see BACKGROUND).

A violation of these requirements is an infraction, unless the violation results in the injury or death of the emergency vehicle operator, in which case the fines are a maximum of $2,500 and $10,000 respectively.

EFFECTIVE DATE: October 1, 2009


Maintenance Vehicle

A “maintenance vehicle” is defined by law as a vehicle the state or a municipality, a state bridge or parkway authority, or any public service company uses in maintaining public highways or bridges and facilities located within their limits (CGS 14-1(46)).


A “wrecker” is defined by law as a vehicle registered, designed, equipped, and used by a DMV-licensed motor vehicle dealer or repairer for the purpose of towing or transporting wrecked or disabled motor vehicles for compensation or for related purposes, or a vehicle contracted for the consensual towing or transporting of one or more motor vehicles to or from a place of sale, purchase, salvage, or repair (CGS 14-1(102)).

Related Act

A provision of PA 09-187 ( 44) broadens the provision of this act covering vehicles operated by sworn members of the State Police or an organized local police department to include additional types of police officers such as (1) any member of a law enforcement unit who performs police duties, for example, DMV inspectors designated to enforce motor vehicle laws; (2) appointed constables who perform criminal law enforcement duties; and (3) certain special policemen appointed to enforce laws on state property, investigate public assistance fraud, and policemen for utility and transportation companies.

OLR Tracking: JF: JKL: PF: TS