Penalties will rise for certain traffic violations in Iowa starting Sunday. Under one new law that takes effect July 1st, you could get your license suspended for not slowing down or getting into another lane when passing vehicles with flashing lights along the roadway. That includes police, emergency responders and tow trucks.

Pam Snook, with the Iowa D.O.T., says deadly accidents happened in the past year as a result of drivers not moving over. “There was an incident on I-80 that probably brought this to life,” Snook says.

“There was also one on I-29 where a fireman was involved. Those are two specific crashes that happened.” In September of 2010, three men were killed when a semi-truck side-swiped another semi and several tow trucks that were stopped along I-80 near Grinnell.

Snook says it’s impossible to know how many near misses there have been due to drivers not moving over. “I have a feeling there are probably a lot of close calls out there that have happened,” she says. “These are people we certainly want to protect, and people riding in ambulances. They’re all people that need to be protected and people need to be aware.”

Another new law will increase penalties for illegally passing school buses with their warning lights flashing or stop arm extended. That follows the death of a north Iowa girl last year who was struck and killed while making her way to a school bus.