Move Over America. It’s the law!

I received the following email from a friend.

New law on 1/1/2010 —> ” Move Over ” Law, (just in case you have not heard this)

FYI,  I was not aware of it . . . note the cost of the ticket…..

New Law: If a patrol car is pulled over to the side of the road with the lights flashing, you have to move to the next lane (away from the stopped vehicle) or slow down to 20 mph…….Every state except Hawaii and Maryland and the D.C. has this law.  In California, the “Move-over” law become operative on January 1, 2010.

My son got a ticket on Pleasant Hill coming back from Wal-Mart. A Duluth police car (turned out it was 2 police cars) was on the side of the road giving a ticket to someone else. My son slowed down to pass but did not move into the other lane. The second police car immediately pulled him over and gave him a ticket.

My son and I had never heard of the law. It is a fairly new law that states if any emergency vehicle is on the side of the road with its lights flashing, if you are able, you are to move into the next lane. The cost of the ticket was $754 (in Georgia, that is), with 3 points on your license and a mandatory court appearance.

Has anyone else not heard of this? Thank goodness for email. I’d hate to have to pay that much for a ticket. I guess this is nation wide but I don’t believe too many people tried to get the word out to very many others.

The High Price of Traffic Safety

Fallen Officers Struck by Vehicles
2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003 2002 2001 2000 1999 TOTAL
14 18 15 16 13 13 14 24 16 10 154

Source: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund

According to a national poll by Mason Dixon Polling & Research, sponsored by the National Safety Commission:

  • 71 percent of Americans have not heard of “Move Over” laws;
  • 86 percent support enacting “Move Over” laws in all 50 states; and
  • 90 percent believe traffic stops and roadside emergencies are dangerous for law enforcement and first responders.

There was a map on the moveoveramerica site, so I researched the law in Texas. I was not aware of it. To my surprise, I discovered that Texas has had this law in effect since September 1, 2003.

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s web site has the following information:

SB 193 requires drivers nearing stopped emergency vehicles-with lights activated-to either slow down to 20 mph below the speed limit or change lanes. the emergency vehicles include police, emergency medical service and fire  vehicles.

A violation is punishable by a maximum fine of $200.00. If the violation results in bodily injury, the offense is enhanced to a Class B misdemeanor.

In CA, the fine is $50.00. In AR, there is up to $500.00 fine, 90 days in jail, 7 days community service, and 90 days suspended license.

It was difficult to find the actual law or fines involved.It looks like this incident happened, according to the email, in Duluth, Georgia, but it also mentions California. CAs fine is only $50.00 so that part of the email is really confusing. The cost of the fine in Georgia is a maximum of $500.oo so I don’t know where the fine in the above email came from.

There are several sites which address this concern. The email is not about a new event. I’m not sure when it started. That does not matter. Paying attention to what it says, does.

I don’t know if cities can have different laws than states. I guess there is a lot to learn out there about this law, but in most states, it is the law.

I can’t remember ever being in this situation myself, but it’s good to know. I’m not sure this particular law is very well publicized. As you can see above, 71% of Americans are not aware of it.

It only makes sense. It seems that on some of the law shows I have seen the accidents where law officers are injured occur when the driver is DUI. Perhaps that accounts for the higher fee for this person’s son.

These traffic officers have a tough job as is when they stop cars. They never know if they are stopping a felon or not. To put them into a situation where their lives are in danger from passing motorists is doubly stressful for them.

If you live in the US, use common sense. Move over or, if you can’t, slow down. These traffic officers put their lives on the line every day. Think about them. Be kind to them.  It’s the law.

Namaste. Attic Annie

PS A friend of mine emailed me that there have been signs posted on the highways in Teas saying “move over…it’s the law” for years. I guess, if I did see such signs (and I’m not admitting whether I did or not) I didn’t connect them with emergency or police vehicles on the side of the road. There’s a real world out there that I guess I need to pay attention to once in a while, huh!


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