Drivers must observe new “move over” law

Maryland drivers should be aware that in October 2013, the state passed a “move over” law. The purpose of the law is to protect public officials and police officers who are working on the side of the road. Motorists must change lanes if possible when officials or police are on the roadside. If a lane change is not possible, drivers must slow down. Recently, the state has begun seriously enforcing the law.

A firefighter and two troopers were killed or seriously hurt in the past year while on the side of the road, and others report near misses throughout their careers. Some motorists ignore the flashing lights while others simply speed past much too closely. Often, distracted drivers fail to notice and do not slow down or change lines.

The law assigns different penalties based on how serious the outcome of failing to observe the law is. Violating the law is considered a primary offense, and it results in a point on a driver’s license and a $110 fine. If a crash results from failure to move over, the driver will receive three points and be required to pay a fine of $150. A violation resulting in a crash that leads to serious injury or death is three points and $750.

With officials announcing a crackdown on violators of the “move over” law, motorists will need to be particularly observant of it. Drivers may think that traffic violations like this one are not serious if they do not result in accidents, but fines and an increase in points can be a problem and may also result in higher insurance rates. Keeping a clean record as a driver is important, and an attorney could negotiate to have charges reduced or dismissed, whether the violations are minor or major ones involving accidents.

Source: FOX Baltimore, “Police Cracking Down on Violations of ‘Move Over Law’”, June 11, 2014

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