It's a law that's been in place for more than three years, but starting Sunday, the penalties for breaking it are going to be more stiff.
Josie Visser considers herself to be a smart driver. She understands when emergency vehicles need an opening.
"You know a life or death situation, seconds count," said Visser of Sheldon, Iowa.
When vehicles are pulled over to the side of the road, she, like so many other Iowans, gets out of the line of traffic.
"People just don't take into account what these emergency vehicles are really there for," said Visser.
The state of Iowa agrees. They've upped the penalty for Iowa drivers who don't give emergency personnel enough room to operate. Before, officers would give you a warning, but now they can fine you up to $1,000. If you strike an emergency worker or vehicle, the Iowa Department of Transportation could take away your license for up to six months.
So what exactly does the law mean?
If you're on a two-lane or four lane highway, you're expected to get over to the right if an emergency vehicle is approaching in your rear-view mirror. If an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road, move over to the left, if it's clear. If it's not, slow down until the other car passes.
Law enforcement is already breathing easier knowing punishments are bigger.
"There was many a days and nights where you'd be out there conducting your business in the squad car and a car would go by so close that your car would rock," said Boetger.
Woodbury County chief deputy Doug Boetger says not only are the penalties higher now, but officials will be more watchful.
"They've taken it up a notch in the severity, if you will," said Boetger.
For drivers, like Visser, who continue to follow the rules, the changes will be easy.
"Something needs to be done, so that people are more aware of what's going on and people take into consideration when these vehicles are on the roads," said Visser.
Otherwise, it could get pricey.
Starting Monday, police are going to be cracking down on drunk driving too. Until July 8, there'll be increased penalties as part of the state's "drive sober or get pulled over" program.
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