In many states, and countries, around the world, a move over law is in place to help first responders do their jobs safely. To learn more about move over laws in the United States, check out the information that we have gathered below.
What is a Move Over Law?
By definition, a move over law is a law that requires drivers to change lanes, which will give safe clearance to first responder vehicles in the field. According to this law, a first responder vehicle may be a police vehicle, fire truck, or ambulance. However, some states also encompass other types of vehicles under this law. Drivers must do this as soon as they notice an emergency vehicle with sirens or flashing lights approaching. By definition, other motorists must move at least one lane away from emergency vehicles, but only if driving on a multi-lane road.
If a driver cannot move over to another lane, the law requires that drivers slow down to a speed less than the stated speed limit. In every state, it is important to realize that a driver should only move to the right if it is safe to do so. Drivers who move to the right at high rates of speed or pull onto dangerous terrain are actually putting everyone on the road in more danger. For this reason, most Move Over Laws in the United States also include a slowdown alternative to pulling all the way to the right.
Why it is important to move over on the Road?
Move Over Laws are important because they help first responders and utility truck drivers stay safer on the road. According to the FBI, being struck or killed by another vehicle on the road leads to many law enforcement deaths in the field. Supporters of the Move Over Law often make it a point to remind drivers that if they follow the law; others will too. Every driver that follows the law is making the jobs of first responders and utility vehicle drivers safer on the road. Furthermore, when first responders and utility vehicle drivers can get to where they are going safer and quicker, everyone is safer on the road as a result.
Why were Move Over Laws Created?
Move Over Laws in the United States were created in honor of Paramedic James D. Garcia. Garcia was a Lexington, South Carolina first responder who was struck and injured in the line of duty on January 28, 1994. After the accident, Garcia was faulted for causing the accident, which resulted in other first responders working to create a law that protected first responders from this type of injustice. Eventually, the law was passed in 1996 and was later revised, in 2002. From 1996 to 2000, a series of similar events took place all across the United States. This phenomenon caught the attention of the US Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration and led to improved standards and protection for first responders. Shortly later, Move Over Laws became prevalent across the United States and in some parts of Canada as well.
Fines and Punishments associated with Move Over Laws
Every state in the US has Move Over Laws, but not all states enforce, fine, or punish drivers who break these laws in the same manner. Instead, the ways these laws are enforced is dependent upon state statutes. Other circumstances such as whether an accident occurred and whether the offending driver is a first or consecutive offender can also influence how the court system in a particular state will prosecute the driver.
50 States have Move Over Laws
In the United States, Move Over Laws are very popular. In fact, 50 of the 50 states abide and enforce Move Over Laws. The final state to enforce the program was Hawaii who passed the law in July 2012. Below, we have gathered information about several states and how they enforce and utilize the Move Over Law in their state.
*This information is provided "as is" and may not be completely accurate as state laws and fines change from time to time. Be sure and contact your State if you need additional information or for current applications.
The Move Over America Campaign
Although many of the Move Over Laws mentioned above have been in effect for a very long time, many Americans still aren’t aware of their state’s Move Over Laws. Move Over America is a nation-wide campaign whose mission it is to spread the word about every state’s individual laws. The movement is supported by the National Sheriff’s Association, National Association of Police Officers, American Association of State Troopers, police officers, first responders, emergency personnel, and utility truck drivers all over the world.
Canadian Move Over Laws
As mentioned briefly above, Move Over Laws aren’t just enforced in the United States. In fact, there are many areas in Canada such as Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland ,Manitoba, Labrador, Northwest Territories, Nunavut,Manitoba Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan have Move Over Laws.
Motorists are Responsible for Knowing and Understanding their State’s Move Over Laws
It is important to note that these laws could change at any time. For this reason, it is imperative that every driver know and understand the Move Over Laws in their state. Since simply not knowing or understanding a particular law is not an excuse for breaking the law, it is imperative that every driver due their best to stay abreast of any laws that can affect their behavior on the road.