New law changes how Iowa drivers approach stopped vehicles

DAVENPORT, Iowa– Several new Iowa laws go into effect July 1, and one of them changes how drivers approach cars stopped on the side of the road.

Previously, people had to change lanes or slow down for emergency or maintenance vehicles stopped on the side of the road with flashing lights. Now, drivers will have to do that for any cars with their hazards on.

“More than likely the vehicle is occupied and something’s going on, whether it’s a patrol car on a traffic stop or covering a crash, or somebody broke down,” Trooper Dan Loussaert, with the Iowa State Patrol, said.

While people should avoid stopping on the interstate or highway, Loussaert said slowing down for these vehicles can make a big difference.

“What surprises me is when somebody is broke down or they have an emergency and they’re stopped along the side of the road, and we show up, a lot of times they say to us, ‘Holy cow. The cars are going by so close and so fast,'” Loussaert said.

Loussaert said even just moving to the other side of your own lane can give a little bit more room to avoid an accident.

Loussaert said the Iowa State Patrol has seen a decrease in the number of citations for breaking the current law.

While a new law is going into effect, Loussaert said most people are already following it.

“I think it just makes sense. And even before Iowa had a law, a majority of people kind of got it,” he said.

Also on July 1, all Iowa homes need carbon monoxide detectors installed.