Every state in the country except Hawaii (and the District of Columbia) has enacted Move Over Laws. Yet it’s surprising how many drivers aren’t aware of these laws – or the heavy penalties that can result when the laws are violated. Established in 2007, Move Over Laws require drivers to move to another lane or, if that’s not possible because of traffic or when driving on a two-lane roadway, reduce their speed by at least 20 miles below the posted speed limit when passing law enforcement, Department of Transportation (DOT) highway maintenance vehicles and first responder vehicles stopped on the side of a roadway with their lights flashing.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, more than 200 law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America’s highways, and thousands more have been injured. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has strongly supported the passage of Move Over Laws to improve the safety of those who must put themselves in harm’s way while performing their roadway duties.
Penalties for violations of the laws vary from state to state, and state legislatures have been amending their laws in an attempt to strengthen and unify the requirements for
compliance. Fines range anywhere from $50 for failure to approach a stopped vehicle with caution to more than $500 for not changing lanes or slowing down, to suspension of a driver’s license, to 60 to 90 days jail time if an injury or fatality results. The Move Over America website has an interactive map of the U.S. which allows you to click on any state and see its Move Over Law mandates and penalties.
The July 4th holiday is rapidly approaching and the date is consistently ranked in the Top Five most dangerous holidays for drivers, primarily because of the significant increase in the number of vehicles on the road. With more traffic comes more breakdowns, more accidents and more responders stopped to deal with emergencies. Professional chauffeurs and limousine drivers can set the example by knowing your state’s Move Over Laws, slowing down and being a part of Move Over America.