Move Over Law

Have you heard of the "Move Over Law", the "Move Over Act", the "Steer Clear Act", or the "Steer Clear Law", etc.?




Long Over-Due Protection for our Emergency Personnel

While each state seems to have its own version of the Move Over Law or Act (not every state has a law like this on their books yet but most do), the basic idea behind it is to protect our law enforcement personnel, our emergency personnel, our tow truck drivers, etc.

And rightly so.

Some states require that you change lanes, or if it's not safe to do so then you're required to slow down to a particular speed while passing the emergency vehicle/tow truck.

Some states enact the Move Over law on all streets and highways while other states make it law only on the freeways.

Some states charge $200 plus for breaking this law, other states charge a lot less.

A lot of the states seem to have varying times as to when they enacted the law. Some states may have their "Move Over" law set to expire at a particular date, some may have already expired, some may not expire at all.

Just as a sampling, below are the rules for the Move Over law for California, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Washington, as they are written at the time of the publishing of this article (you can see how very different they are, even though the basic premise is the same):


 


California Move Over Law - Stationary Emergency Vehicle or Tow Truck

V C Section 21809 Stationary Emergency Vehicle or Tow Truck

Freeway: Stationary Vehicles Displaying Emergency or Warning Lights

21809. (a) A person driving a vehicle on a freeway approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights, ( )1 a stationary tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, or a stationary marked Department of Transportation vehicle that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, shall approach with due caution and, before passing in a lane immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle ( )1, tow truck, or Department of Transportation vehicle, absent ( )2 other direction by a peace officer, proceed to do one of the following:

(1) Make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or ( )3 Department of Transportation vehicle, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, if practicable and not prohibited by law.

(2) If the maneuver described in paragraph (1) would be unsafe or impracticable, slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.

(b) A violation of subdivision (a) is an infraction, punishable by a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50).

(c) ( )4 The requirements of subdivision (a) do not apply if the stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights, the stationary tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, or the stationary marked Department of Transportation vehicle that is displaying flashing amber warning lights is not adjacent to the freeway or is separated from the freeway by a protective physical barrier.

Added Sec. 2, Ch. 375, Stats. 2006. Effective January 1, 2007. Amended Sec. 1, Ch. 175, Stats. 2009. Effective January 1, 2010. The 2009 amendment added the italicized material, and at the point(s) indicated, deleted the following:

1. or2. any3. tow truck4. This section shall remain in effect only until January 1, 2010, and as of that date is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that is enacted before January 1, 2010, deletes or extends that date.

Pennsylvania Move Over Law - Steer Clear Law

The Steer Clear law, which went into effect Sept. 8, 2006, requires motorists to move into a lane that is not adjacent to an emergency response area.

An emergency response area is an area on or near a road where services are being provided by police, sheriffs, coroners, medical examiners, firefighters, fire police, fire marshalls, rescue personnel, emergency medical service personnel, towing and recovery personnel, hazardous material response team members and/or highway construction and maintenance personnel.

If drivers cannot move over because of traffic or other conditions, they must reduce their speed.

In cases where law enforcement may not be present, the law allows road workers and emergency responders to report violations by motorists.

Law enforcement may issue citations based on these reports.

Failure to move over or slow down can result in a summary offense that carries a fine of up to $250.

In addition, fines will be doubled for traffic violations occurring in work zones areas.

If that violation leads to a worker being injured, a 90-day license suspension could result.

Texas Move Over Law

78(R) SB 193

An Act

relating to vehicles passing certain stationary emergency vehicles on a highway; providing a penalty.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS: SECTION 1. This Act may be cited as the Move Over Act. SECTION 2. Subchapter D, Chapter 545, Transportation Code, is amended by adding Section 545.157 to read as follows:

Sec. 545.157. PASSING AUTHORIZED EMERGENCY VEHICLE.

(a) On approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle using visual signals that meet the requirements of Sections 547.305 and 547.702, an operator, unless otherwise directed by a police officer, shall:

(1) vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle when driving on a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle; or

(2) slow to a speed not to exceed:

(A) 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or more; or

(B) five miles per hour when the posted speed limit is less than 25 miles per hour.

(b) A violation of this section is:

(1) a misdemeanor punishable under Section 542.401;

(2) a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $500 if the violation results in property damage; or

(3) a Class B misdemeanor if the violation results in bodily injury.

(c) If conduct constituting an offense under this section also constitutes an offense under another section of this code or the Penal Code, the actor may be prosecuted under either section or under both sections.

SECTION 3. This Act takes effect September 1, 2003.

Washington Move Over Law

RCW 46.61.212

Approaching stationary emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and police vehicles. (Effective until January 1, 2011.) [Note from Diane - Although this is due to expire January 1, 2011, you can be pretty sure that it'll be extended or something similar, and maybe even more stringent, will be enacted in its place.]

The driver of any motor vehicle, upon approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is making use of audible and/or visual signals meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.190, a tow truck that is making use of visual red lights meeting the requirements of RCW 46.37.196, other vehicles providing roadside assistance that are making use of warning lights with three hundred sixty degree visibility, or a police vehicle properly and lawfully displaying a flashing, blinking, or alternating emergency light or lights, shall:

(1) On a highway having four or more lanes, at least two of which are intended for traffic proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle, proceed with caution and, if reasonable, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change or moving away from the lane or shoulder occupied by the stationary authorized emergency vehicle or police vehicle;

(2) On a highway having less than four lanes, proceed with caution, reduce the speed of the vehicle, and, if reasonable, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, and under the rules of this chapter, yield the right-of-way by passing to the left at a safe distance and simultaneously yield the right-of-way to all vehicles traveling in the proper direction upon the highway; or

(3) If changing lanes or moving away would be unreasonable or unsafe, proceed with due caution and reduce the speed of the vehicle.

[2007 c 83 § 1; 2005 c 413 § 1.]

So, check out the legislature for your state, find
out what the Move Over law says and Move Over! And if
you don't have a Move Over law yet, move over anyway. Let's
help our emergency personnel, they're there risking their lives for us.







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