By Brad Segall
NORRISTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – Legislation is making its way through Harrisburg that would hold drivers accountable if they have to be rescued after driving around barricades onto flooded roadways.
“Turn Around, Don’t Drown” is a national initiative designed to create awareness about the hazards of trying to drive through raging flood waters.
“Frankly, a lot of it comes down to awareness. It’s a dangerous problem and just a few inches of rushing flood waters can float your car or sweep you away and most people don’t realize that,” says Montgomery County State Representative Todd Stephens.
Legislation unanimously passed by the Pennsylvania House calls for drivers to be fined, have points assessed to their driving record and pay for the cost of the rescue.
Stephens says they could also have their license suspended if anyone gets seriously injured.
“Over the years they’ve watched motorists go around barricades and then need to be rescued from rushing flood waters and it senselessly puts our first responders in harm’s way.”
He says local police departments say it’s a growing problem “and I wanted to make sure that anytime somebody drives around a road closed sign, they’re held accountable, because it just needlessly puts our first responders in harm’s way.”
Last month in Montgomery County a Philadelphia man was ordered to make a one thousand dollar contribution to a fire company and write letters of apology to three firemen who put their lives on the line when he drove into flood waters in Willow Grove during Tropical Storm Lee last September.