We have all driven up to a scene where we encounter the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle on the side of the road. Most of us, out of habit or courtesy, know to move over and slow down to ensure the safety of the emergency vehicle responder. Unfortunately, not all drivers are considerate so each state has passed their own “Move Over” laws to promote emergency vehicle safety.
Move Over laws began to pop up in the United States between 2000 and 2012 but originated in the mid 1990′s. In 1994, a paramedic in Lexington, South Carolina was struck and injured when responding to a call. To make matters worse, he was actually ticketed as “at fault” for the accident. To ensure the safety of emergency vehicle workers and protect them from liability, South Carolina passed the first form of the law in 1996. The law was later revised in 2002 to it’s current format.
Between 2000 and 2012 Move Over laws were passed in all 50 states, only Washington DC is without a regulation. Move Over laws are primarily focused on ensuring the safety of emergency responders on the side of the road. Most of the laws require passing vehicles to vacate the lane closest to the shoulder where the emergency vehicle is located. In addition to clearing the lane, many states have a provision that drivers must reduce their speed as well. Apparently not everybody is receiving this message as Hawaii, who just passed their law in 2012, wrote 60 citations in conjunction with recent DUI stops.
Since each state is responsible for their own laws the punishments can vary. Wisconsin allows for fines over $ 260 and 3 demerits against their license. In Nevada, the fines can reach $ 395 and 4 points assigned to their license. Both West Virginia and South Dakota have provisions that call for monetary fines and even jail time!
Move Over laws are in place to promote emergency vehicle safety for everyone involved. Help out the people who dedicate their lives to helping others and follow the law.
What has been your experience with Move Over laws?