Slow Down and Move Over

May 15, 2014

Move over – it’s a simple maneuver that can mean the difference between life and death, yet some people still aren’t doing it.  When you see a police vehicle on the side of the road, you have to move over so the officers are protected.

Specifically, Virginia Code Section 46.2-921.1 states that drivers must (1) yield the right of way to a stationary vehicle that is displaying flashing, blinking, or alternating red, blue, or amber light or lights; (2) reduce speed when approaching emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road; and (3) move to a travel lane further away from the stopped vehicles, when traffic conditions safely permit such a move.

A violation of the law is punishable as a traffic infraction.  However, a second or subsequent violation, when the violation involved a vehicle with flashing, blinking, or alternating red and blue lights, is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.

Furthermore, if the violation results in property damage to another person’s property, your license could be suspended for up to one year.  If the violation results in injury to another person, your license could be suspended for up to two years.

Recently, several police officers have been injured by drivers not moving over for law enforcement.  There is new legislation in an effort to change the current move over law.  “Andew’s law” was written for Virginia State Trooper Andrew Fox, who was killed in 2012 when a driver hit him while he was directing traffic at a state fair.  The driver got a fine of $1,000 and a one year suspended sentence.  The bill currently pending would make violations of the move over law a Class 5 felony, with a maximum jail sentence of 10 years, a mandatory $2,500 fine, and a mandatory 1 year driver’s license suspension.  The Senate passed the bill in February 2014, but the House has continued it until 2015.

But slow down, and move over.  You’ll avoid a crime as well as possibly save someone’s life.

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