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photo: should I phone Cliff to have photog join the stakeout or what

In an annual campaign to promote motoring safety in highway work zones and at scenes of emergencies, state troopers today will take seats alongside PennDOT truck drivers to covertly watch for speeding and reckless drivers, the agencies announced.

“Operation Yellow Jacket” puts the sting on drivers who fail to pull into the travel lanes farthest from the highway maintenance vehicles as required by Pennsylvania’s “steer clear” law.

Troopers in the trucks will radio descriptions of offenders to other patrol officers farther along the highways — which were not disclosed — to stop the traffic and give out citations.

Pennsylvania’s Title 75, Section 3327, also known as the Steer Clear Law or Move Over Law, requires that drivers approaching an emergency response area pass in a lane not adjacent to the emergency response area, if possible; or, if passing in a nonadjacent lane is impossible, illegal or unsafe, pass at a careful and prudent reduced speed. For a first offense violation of this section, the fine could be up to $250.00.

According to police, an “emergency response area” is defined as “the area in which emergency service responders render emergency assistance to individuals on or near a roadway or a police officer is conducting a traffic stop or systematic check of vehicles or controlling or directing traffic as long as the emergency vehicle is making use of visual signals meeting the requirements of Subchapter D of Chapter 45.”

The laws are intended to protect the lives and safety of emergency responders and others at work along the highways. Day and night, regardless of weather and traffic conditions, police officers, firefighters, emergency medical services personnel, tow operators, and highway maintenance workers perform various duties along roadways and often place themselves at significant risk of harm while serving others in need, according to police.

“Please help us to keep our highways safe for everyone by slowing down and/or moving over when approaching an emergency response area,” said state police spokesman Trooper Cliff Greenfield.

Travelers are also encouraged to visit for 24/7 traffic and weather information to assist with their travel plans.