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Laws require motorists to move over for emergency vehicles

Published On: Mar 26 2013 09:33:07 AM CDT
Updated On: Mar 27 2013 08:42:22 AM CDT

By Shirley Rooker, President, Call For Action

Should you move over? Is it required by law? We are talking about your behavior when passing an emergency or law enforcement vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road.

Are there laws that govern motorist behaviour when passing police or rescue vehicles that are stopped by the roadside?

A consumer wrote asking if there was such a thing as a Move Over law because of an email she had received which states this new law carries a fine of $754. She asked if the email was true. The answer, yes and no!

In most states there are laws that specify motorist behaviour when emergency and polices vehicles are parked by the roadside and the fines that may be levied if the laws aren’t obeyed. The three exceptions are Maryland, District of Columbia and Hawaii.

Move Over laws have been enacted because more than 150 law enforcement officers have been killed in the last ten years due to being struck by vehicles along our highways.

Is the current email about the law accurate?

Like many emails this one contains some truth. While the Move Over law is a fact the extremely high fines seem to be exaggerations. The amount quoted in some of the emails is $754. This amount has not been verified. However, in some states the fines can be several hundred dollars or more.

What does the law require of motorists?

You must slow down and if possible, move over a lane when there is an emergency or police vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road you are traveling. Of course, on some roads it may not be possible to move over but you must slow down. Speed limits and the actions you must take are controlled by your states laws and may vary from state to state.

Many state laws define emergency vehicles as any vehicle displaying flashing lights.
The requirements of the law make sense because we should all be concerned about protecting emergency personnel along our highways.

Information on Move Over Laws

Virginia Move Over law

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