Claim: Motorists in most U.S. states can be fined for failing to slow down or change lanes when passing parked emergency vehicles.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, January 2004]
Let my misfortune be a lesson for you. This is a long story, but a must read. This really happened to me yesterday (12/10/03).
Yesterday, I was driving into town along the Southwest Freeway around
Not a 1/2 mile down the freeway, there was another HPD officer that had someone pulled over on the left shoulder giving the person a ticket. I thought, man this was an obvious speed trap and kept on going. I had slowed down to around 60 at that point as now the posted speed limit was 60.
About a mile up the road, around Gessner, another HPD officer had someone else pulled over to give them a ticket and literally in front of that traffic stop was another HPD officer (yes we are up to
The officer came to my window and said "do you know how fast you were going?" I said yes, I was going 60. He said "you were doing 58" and he showed me his radar gun, which read 58. I said okay. He said "you failed to slow your speed down by
Come to find out, this is a new state law as of
SB 193 requires drivers nearing a stopped emergency vehicle that has lights activated, unless otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer, 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
Slow to a speed not more than five mph when the posted speed limit is less than
A violation is a punishable by a maximum fine of $200. If the violation results in property damage, the maximum fine increases to $500. If the violation results in bodily injury, the offense is enhanced to a
It was signed by the governor on June 18 and became Law on 9/1.
Origins: On 1 September 2003, a new traffic law went into effect in the Lone Star state. Troopers didn't strictly enforce it for its first ninety days on the books (they began ticketing in earnest only in
three months after one might have expected it to.
The "Move Over Act"
carry out their duties.
"The whole idea of that law is to keep people from running over us," said Kyle Coleman, a lieutenant with the Bexar County Sheriff's Department. "It's a real nerve-racking experience. You feel the wind from the (side) mirror slide across your back."
"People were not slowing down and it's very dangerous for the emergency services personnel to be on the side of the road," said Tela Mange, a spokeswoman for
the Texas Department of Public Safety. "They are very vulnerable. There oftentimes are wrecks because people are not paying attention or are more interested on what's going on in the side of the road."
Many of those who serve have been killed by careless motorists. In 2003, among the police officers killed nationwide, 13 were struck by vehicles while they were on duty outside of their vehicles.
In the five years since we originally published this article many other states have passed "move over" laws, the latest being
A January 2010 message circulated by e-mail claimed that a new "move over" traffic law had been implemented in California just that month:
I wanted to let my friends know about the CA move over law. My son got a ticket on Pleasant Hill coming back from The cost of the ticket was $754, with
In California, the "Move-over" law became effective on January 1, 2010.
I wanted to let my friends know about the CA move over law. My son got a ticket on Pleasant Hill coming back from
The cost of the ticket was $754, with
California has had a "Move Over, Slow Down" law for several years. The law that took effect
(Although the monetary fine specified in the California Vehicle Code for an infraction of this type is "not more than $50," the state and the county where the infraction took place typically impose additional penalty assessments and surcharges, so the total fine paid can vary from county to county and is likely to be around the $146 figure mentioned above.)
Barbara "slow down and save the life of someone who may one day save yours" Mikkelson
| Move Over, America!|
Last updated: 9 January 2011
Congi, Sera. "'Slow Down, Move Over' Law Starts This Weekend.'" WBZ-TV [Boston]. 18 March 2009. Driscoll, Patrick. "Move Over Act Bites Motorists." San Antonio Express-News. 13 January 2004 (p. B1). Gibson, Denise D. "Law Says Drivers Risk Ticket If Too Close to Shoulder." The Jersey Journal. 3 February 2009. MacPherson, Jim "Slow Down - Move Over." The Hartford Courant. 7 October 2009. Meighan, Ty. "Move Over or Slow Down." Corpus Christi Caller-Times. 15 January 2004 (p. A1). Richards, Gary. "Roadshow: Caltrans Gets the Message." [San Jose] Mercury News. 26 January 2010.