Move over law

Last updated

A move over law is a law which requires motorists to move over and change lanes to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers, firefighters, ambulances, utility workers, and in some cases, tow-truck drivers and disabled vehicles. In the past, Canada and United States have used this term to apply to two different concepts; however, this is beginning to change as Canadian provinces have begun expanding the scope of their move over laws.

Contents

In Canada

In Canada, move over laws require motorists, upon noticing an incoming emergency vehicle (coming from any direction) with sirens or flashing lights operating, to move to the shoulder and stop, until the vehicle has passed the vicinity. This gives emergency vehicles a clear roadway for responding to emergencies, encouraging the fast response of emergency vehicles.

The Province of Ontario's Ministry of Transportation and the Province of Saskatchewan's Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure were the first to implement move over laws. [1] Quebec was the last province to implement a move over law, which came into effect on August 5, 2012. [2]

In 2005, the government of Alberta expanded the scope of the province's move over laws. Amendments were made to the province's Traffic Safety Act to require drivers to either slow down or move over when passing emergency vehicles or tow trucks stopped on the side of a highway when their "flashing lamps are operating." [3] The maximum speed for passing stationary emergency vehicles or tow trucks was set at 60 km/h, and the fines for exceeding that speed were doubled. [4]

In 2012, Quebec established a Move Over Law (called in French as Corridor de sécurité , or Safety corridor). Unlike other laws found in US states and Canadian provinces, the Quebec law had broader application. Drivers would have to slow down and provide a buffer lane to a stopped service vehicle with active strobing/rotating lights or active traffic arrow. The service vehicles may be tow trucks, emergency vehicles (ambulance, police, fire), or highway department patrol vehicles.

In 2015, Ontario modified the Highway Traffic Act, stating motorists shall slow down and proceed with caution, moving over if multiple lanes exist, when approaching stopped tow trucks producing intermittent flashes of amber light. The section does not define tow trucks as "emergency vehicles."

In the United States

In the United States, move over laws refer to requiring drivers to give a one lane buffer to stopped emergency vehicles. For example, while driving in the right lane, if the driver sees a stopped police car, the driver is required to move one lane over to the left to give enough buffer space to avoid any potential accidents.

Move over laws were originated in the United States after a South Carolina paramedic, James D. Garcia, was struck and injured at an accident scene January 28, 1994, in Lexington. Garcia was listed at fault, leading to his work to create a law for emergency responders. South Carolina's version (SC 56-5-1538) passed in 1996, and was revised in 2002.

After a series of similar events across the US in 2000, the US Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration began to address the issue of Emergency Scene Safety, and issued recommended changes for the new Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) that finally addressed the need for improved standards and protection for emergency workers. With the further assistance of public interest groups such as the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, move over laws became standard across the US and Canada. [5]

In the United States, move over laws are aimed at protecting emergency responders working along the roadside. All fifty states have passed such laws, which were promoted in response to increasing roadside fatalities in the line of duty. The laws require drivers, upon noticing an emergency vehicle with sirens and/or flashing lights, to move away from the vehicle by one lane, or if that is not possible, slow down to either a reasonable speed or a fixed speed below the limit as defined by local law. This includes law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances. In New York State, drivers must use due care when approaching an emergency vehicle that displays red and/or white emergency lighting such as law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances and also vehicles with flashing amber lighting such as tow trucks, construction vehicles and other service workers stopped along the side of the road while performing their duties. [6] Since July 1, 2018, in Iowa, drivers must move over or slow down for any vehicle with flashing hazard lights. [7]

Currently, only Washington, D.C. does not have a move over law. On June 17, 2009, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell signed House Bill 5894, establishing a Move Over requirement in the state. Connecticut's Move Over law took effect on October 1, 2009. [8] [9] On August 13, 2010, New York's governor signed a move over law to take effect on January 1, 2011. On January 1, 2012, the move over law was modified to include not only police, fire trucks, and ambulances, but also hazard vehicles, such as tow trucks. [10] Maryland's 'move over law provisions, which were approved by Governor O'Malley on May 20, 2010, came into effect on October 1, 2010. [11] [12] On October 1, 2012, North Carolina's newly revised move over law, which was expanded to include utility and maintenance operations, went into effect.

Related Research Articles

Traffic Road users travelling by foot or vehicle

Traffic on roads consists of road users including pedestrians, ridden or herded animals, vehicles, streetcars, buses and other conveyances, either singly or together, while using the public way for purposes of travel.

Traffic light Signaling device to control competing flows of traffic

Traffic lights, traffic signals, stoplights or robots are signalling devices positioned at road intersections, pedestrian crossings, and other locations to control flows of traffic.

Emergency vehicle

An emergency vehicle is a vehicle that is used by emergency services to respond to an incident. These vehicles are usually operated by designated agencies which are often part of the government, but also may be non-governmental organizations and commercial companies specifically authorised by law. Emergency vehicles may be exempted from some conventional road rules in order to reach their destinations in the fastest possible time, such as driving through an intersection when the traffic light is red, or exceeding the speed limit. In some states of the United States, however, the driver of an emergency vehicle can still be sued if the driver shows "reckless disregard for the safety of others."

Passing lane Lane on a multi-lane highway or motorway closest to the median of the road

A passing lane or overtaking lane is a lane on a multi-lane highway or motorway closest to the median of the road. In some countries, lanes are described as being on the 'inside' or the 'outside' of a road, and the location of the passing lanes will vary.

Traffic stop Detention of a driver by police

A traffic stop, commonly referred to as being pulled over, is a temporary detention of a driver of a vehicle by police to investigate a possible crime or minor violation of law.

Traffic law in China is still in its nascent stage. Therefore, the rules of the road in China are understood to mean both the codified and uncodified practices, procedures and norms of behavior generally followed by motorists, cyclists and pedestrians in the mainland of China.

Automotive lighting Lighting system of a motor vehicle

The lighting system of a motor vehicle consists of lighting and signalling devices mounted or integrated to the front, rear, sides, and in some cases the top of a motor vehicle. This lights the roadway for the driver and increases the visibility of the vehicle, allowing other drivers and pedestrians to see a vehicle's presence, position, size, direction of travel, and the driver's intentions regarding direction and speed of travel. Emergency vehicles usually carry distinctive lighting equipment to warn drivers and indicate priority of movement in traffic.

Emergency vehicle lighting

Emergency vehicle lighting is one or more visual warning lights fitted to a vehicle for use when the driver wishes to convey to other road users the urgency of their journey, to provide additional warning of a hazard when stationary, or in the case of law enforcement as a means of signalling another driver to stop for interaction with an officer. These lights may be dedicated emergency lights, such as a beacon or a light bar, or may be modified stock lighting, such as a wig-wag or hide-away light, and are additional to any standard lighting on the car such as hazard lights. Often, they are used along with a siren in order to increase their effectiveness.

School bus traffic stop laws

School bus stop laws are laws dictating what a motorist must do in the vicinity of a bus stop being used by a school bus or other bus, coach or minibus providing school transport.

Emergency vehicle equipment

Emergency vehicle equipment is any equipment fitted to, or carried by, an emergency vehicle, other than the equipment that a standard non-emergency vehicle is fitted with.

Weigh station

A weigh station is a checkpoint along a highway to inspect vehicular weights. Usually, trucks and commercial vehicles are subject to the inspection.

Road traffic control

Road traffic control involves directing vehicular and pedestrian traffic around a construction zone, accident or other road disruption, thus ensuring the safety of emergency response teams, construction workers and the general public.

Traffic-light signalling and operation

The use of traffic lights to control the movement of traffic differs regionally and internationally in certain respects. This article describes some of these non-universal features. Note that the color phase commonly known as "yellow" is often referred to, especially in official usage, as "amber"; for consistency this article uses "yellow" throughout.

Driving in the United Kingdom is governed by various legal powers and in some cases is subject to the passing of a driving test. The government produces a Highway Code that details the requirements for all road users, including drivers. Unlike most other countries in the world, UK traffic drives on the left.

The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) is legislation in Ontario, Canada, which regulates the licensing of vehicles, classification of traffic offences, administration of loads, classification of vehicles and other transport-related issues. First introduced in 1923 to deal with increasing accidents during the early years of motoring in Ontario, and replacing earlier legislation such as the Highway Travel Act, there have been amendments due to changes to driving conditions and new transportation trends. For example, in 2009, the Act was revised to ban the use of cell phones while driving.

Courtesy lights

Courtesy lights are used to request right-of-way primarily by volunteer or on-call firefighters and emergency medical technicians (EMTs) to expedite their drive in their privately owned vehicles, to their firehouse or base. Courtesy lights sometimes allow the user to disobey traffic laws such as speed limits, but usually not laws applying to stop signs or stop lights. Courtesy lights should not be confused with emergency warning lights used in conjunction with audible warning systems (sirens) for emergency vehicles such as police cars, fire apparatus, and ambulances, nor should they be confused with warning lights as used by tow trucks, snow plows, construction vehicles and school buses to increase awareness especially when moving slowly or stopped in the roadway.

The transportation system of Connecticut is a cooperation of complex systems of infrastructure. Trains and highways are the central pieces of the system.

Traffic guard Person who directs traffic through a construction site or other temporary traffic control zone

A traffic guard, traffic controller, flagman, or flagger is a person who directs traffic through a construction site or other temporary traffic control zone past an area using gestures, signs or flags. The person directing traffic is responsible for maintaining the safety and efficiency of traffic, as well as the safety of road workers, while allowing construction, accident recovery or other tasks to proceed. Traffic guards are commonly used to control traffic when two way roads are reduced to one lane, and traffic must alternate. Their duties are to direct traffic to safer areas where construction or traffic incidents are taking place. In addition they have to moderate the traffic density to not cause traffic jams. They guide motorists to follow the traffic laws; but may not be able to enforce the law. Most traffic guards are seen as construction workers; but in some nations, they dress or perform as security guards and police officers.

Headlight flashing Act of flashing a motor vehicles headlights

Headlight flashing is the act of either briefly switching on the headlights of a car, or of momentarily switching between a headlight's high beams and low beams, in an effort to communicate with another driver or drivers. The signal is sometimes referred to in car manufacturers' manuals as an optical horn, since it draws the attention of other drivers.

Glossary of road transport terms Wikipedia glossary

Terminology related to road transport—the transport of passengers or goods on paved routes between places—is diverse, with variation between dialects of English. There may also be regional differences within a single country, and some terms differ based on the side of the road traffic drives on. This glossary is an alphabetical listing of road transport terms.

References

  1. Ministry of Transportation (Ontario) Public Notice Archived 2011-06-08 at the Wayback Machine
  2. Government of Quebec, Ministry of Transport (MTQ), "Reminder from the Minister of Transport: Move Over Law Comes into Effect on August 5" [ permanent dead link ] (CNW CODE 01), Office of the Minister of Transport, 30 July 2012
  3. Traffic Safety Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. T-6, s. 115(2)(t) and s. 115(4)
  4. Part 28.1 of the Procedures Regulation, Alta. Reg. 233/89 (pursuant to the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. P-34
  5. "Iowa's Move Over law expanding to include all vehicles with flashing lights - Transportation Matters for Iowa | Iowa DOT". www.transportationmatters.iowadot.gov. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  6. Governor Rell signs 'move over' bill into law, Stamford Plus, June 17, 2009
  7. HB 5894 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A "MOVE OVER" LAW IN CONNECTICUT. Connecticut General Assembly, Accessed July 2, 2009
  8. http://www.troopers.ny.gov/Traffic_Safety/Move_Over_Act/
  9. An Act concerning Motor Vehicles - Approaching Emergency Vehicles and Personnel
  10. NEW MOVE OVER LAWS TAKE EFFECT OCTOBER 1