"Move it or Lose it!"
You've got the radio cranked up, the windows down and you're cruising along at a pretty good clip - until you see the dreaded red and blue lights up ahead. The first thing you probably do is tap the breaks, even if you weren't going over the speed limit; it's just habit.
But did you get over into the other lane, or did you cruise on by in the right lane thinking to yourself, "Better him than me...?"
Whether you drive a big bad Peterbilt or a Prius (we really hope it's not the latter), you have to abide by the Move Over Law. Never heard of it before? Don't worry, you're not alone.
According to a national poll by Mason Dixon Polling & Research, sponsored by the National Safety Commission:
- Close to 71 percent of Americans have never even heard of the law, let alone follow it;
- 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.
The Move Over Law originated in the United States after a South Carolina paramedic, James D. Garcia, was struck and injured at an accident scene on January 28, 1994 in Lexington, SC. The law aims at protecting emergency responders working along the roadside.
Since 1999, over 150 officers have been killed after being struck by vehicles on America's highways. Due to the increase in roadside fatalities, forty-nine U.S. states have passed "Move Over" laws (everyone except for Hawaii and Washington D.C.).
What do "Move Over" laws mean for folks on the road? You must move over one lane when approaching an emergency vehicle OR, if you cannot change lanes safely, slow down to a reasonable speed, which is defined as at least 20 m.p.h. under the posted speed limit. If drivers fail to move over or slow down, officers can and do issue citations. Fines can run up to $750, and up to three points can be issued on your license for failure to move over (this varies for each state the ticket is issued in).
To us, "Move Over" laws make sense. Emergency responders risk their lives every day to keep us safe - the least we can do is move over to give them some extra room and perhaps save a life.
Check out the infographic below, created by Bestpass, to help you better understand the Move Over Law. Feel free to share and safe travels!