Law enforcement officers and first responders are counting on drivers to move over and slow down when they see flashing lights and law enforcement vehicles ahead.

Captain Jim Kitchin with the Montana Highway Patrol reminds drivers of their responsibilities to protect themselves and first responders.

“Actually, they’re required by law if they’re approaching a stationary vehicle displaying their lights that they need to either get into the safest lane, such as moving over to the passing lane and give us a little bit of room and slow down their speed,” said Kitchin. If it’s only one lane, they need to slow down by at least 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limits, so that would be on Highway 200 or Highway 12.”

Kitchin said Highway Patrol troopers have been struck by vehicles that are not following the law.

“If we’re out there and somebody’s traveling 70 to 75 miles per hour you reaction time is slower,” he said. “We’ve had troopers that have been hit out there and we’ve had tow company operators that have been hit. You never know when someone is going to walk out around a tow truck, so we’d really appreciate it if people would just follow the law and slow down.”

Kitchin said the reminders he wants to emphasize to drivers include slowing down, don’t drink and drive and never drive distracted, never text and drive.