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Is there a new law that says you have to move-over if I see the police have someone pulled over? Which states and what do I have to do?


A

Yes, in most states there are now move over laws.  In some states it may be considered a newer law but most states have had this type of law in effect for several years already.

The details of what is required of you and the penalties associated with move over laws differ slightly from state to state, however, in general the law requires a motorist to move over or slow down below the speed limit (20 mph typically) when passing police who have pulled someone over or are passing another emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road.

The penalty for this type of traffic violation tends to be a fine ranging anywhere from $50 to $500.

According to FBI statistics, traffic crashes claim the lives of more police personnel than any other cause of death in the line of duty, including shootings. This is why in the last ten years most states have implemented a move over law.

As of early 2010 all states except three have a "move over" law in place. Hawaii, New York State and Maryland plus the District of Columbia do not currently have move over laws in place. New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Nebraska all recently, as of 2009, put in effect move over laws. Not following this law in NJ comes with a fine of up to $500 in NJ and up to $100 in MA.

Update: As of July 2011 now only Hawaii and D.C. have not inacted a move over law.

As we noted many states have had their move over law in effect for many years. For example Kansas implemented their move over law in 2000 and it comes with a fine of $180 (plus court costs).

Georgia put their move over law into effect as of 2007. The Georgia Move-Over Law (GA Code 40-6-16) notes that the operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle or that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, red, or blue lights or a stationary towing or recovery vehicle or a stationary highway maintenance vehicle that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:

Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or If a lane change would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

California has had its move over law in effect since 2007 but it was set to expire in 2010. It is now permanent and on January 1, 2010 it was amended. Existing CA law, Section 21809 of the California State Vehicle Code, required a person driving a vehicle on a freeway approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights or a stationary tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, to approach with due caution, and before passing in the lane immediately adjacent to the stationary vehicle, absent other direction by a peace officer, to move into an available lane that is not immediately adjacent to the stationary vehicle or if that lane change would be unsafe or impracticable, to slow to a reasonable and prudent speed. A violation of those requirements is an infraction.

The amended law now also applies the above move over requirements to a person driving a vehicle on a California freeway that approaches a stationary marked Department of Transportation vehicle displaying flashing amber warning lights.

Move over laws basically require drivers to move-over one lane when possible if an emergency vehicle with flashing lights is parked on the shoulder of the highway. If traffic is too heavy or road conditions are such that you are unable to move over safely, the laws usually then require drivers to slow down below the posted speed limit instead and possibly be prepared to stop.

Move Over America has a website that gives information on all of the states' move over laws. If you want to know more about your state's move over law and its penalties if you violate the move over law than contact your state's Department of Motor Vehicles.


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1 Responses to "Is there a new law that says you have to move-over if I see the police have someone pulled over? Which states and what do I have to do?"
  1. Anonymous

    NY now has a "Move over law" as of 2011.

      Reply»