Loss Control - Move Over Laws


Move Over Laws

What is a 'move over' law? Over the recent years many states have enacted a motor vehicle regulation designed to protect emergency personnel performing services along the nation's roadways. Most drivers are unaware of these laws that are also designed to protect motorists. Regardless of the state you live in or drive through, the law is commonly referred to as the Move Over law.

Many law enforcement officers, fire and medical rescue workers, and towing operators have been killed or seriously injured when struck by careless motorists while performing their jobs. Oftentimes the outcome is a multiple vehicle collision resulting in multiple driver injury or fatality, and extensive vehicle damage.

Among the police officers killed nationwide in a single year, 13 were struck by vehicles while they were on duty outside of their vehicles. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, during the five-year period of 1996-2000, motorists in Florida crashed into working law enforcement vehicles that were stopped/parked along Florida roadways 1,793 times, resulting in five deaths and 419 injuries.

Which states have 'move over' laws? Move over laws are on the books in most states including California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

What is the penalty? State penalties vary but in most states violators of the law could face up to a $200 fine. If the violation results in property damage, the fine increases to $500, and if it results in bodily injury, the offense is enhanced to a Class B misdemeanor.

What does the law require? Unless otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer, move over laws basically require drivers nearing a stopped emergency vehicle that has lights activated to:

  • Vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle if the highway has two or more lanes
    traveling the direction of the emergency vehicle; or
  • Slow to a speed not more than 20 miles per hour (mph) less than the posted speed limit
    when the posted speed limit is 25 mph or more; or
  • Slow to a speed not more than five mph when the posted speed limit is less than 25 mph.

Review this law with your employees: Westfield Insurance encourages you to review this information with all your employees especially those that drive company vehicles and trucks. Remind them to move over or slow down when passing emergency vehicles stopped along the roadways. Their actions can prevent injury to emergency workers, other motorists, and themselves; as well as prevent loss of property and minimize liability exposure to your business.

We encourage you to evaluate the status of your company's risk management programs and policies and make enhancements where needed. Your efforts will go a long way towards minimizing your company's exposure and helping control insurance costs.

Example Move Over law
ORC 4511.213
(A) The driver of a motor vehicle, upon approaching a stationary public safety
vehicle that is displaying a flashing red light, flashing combination red and white
light, oscillating or rotating red light, oscillating or rotating combination red and white
light, flashing blue light, flashing combination blue and white light, oscillating or
rotating blue light, or oscillating or rotating combination blue and white light, shall do
either of the following:

(1) If the driver of the motor vehicle is traveling on a highway that consists of
at least two lanes that carry traffic in the same direction of travel as that of
the driver's motor vehicle, the driver shall proceed with due caution and,
if possible and with due regard to the road, weather, and traffic conditions,
shall change lanes into a lane that is not adjacent to that of the stationary
public safety vehicle.

(2) If the driver is not traveling on a highway of a type described in
division (A) (1) of this section, or if the driver is traveling on a highway
of that type but is not able to change lanes or if to do so would
be unsafe, the driver shall proceed with due caution, reduce the speed
of the motor vehicle, and maintain a safe speed for the road, weather, and traffic conditions.

*This information is intended as a guideline to be used in conjunction with other risk control resources. It does not represent legal advice and does not amend the terms, conditions or coverage of your insurance policy. This information has been obtained from resources believed to be reliable, but Westfield Insurance cannot guarantee its reliability and does not assume liability for the information or suggestions presented.

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