Posted in Attorney Blogs on October 25, 2018
Starting back on October 1st, 2018, drivers in Maryland have had to adapt to a new ‘Move Over’ traffic law. According to the new law, drivers must slow down or change lanes when they see certain stopped vehicles on the side of the road. While the state has had a ‘Move Over’ law in place previously, the latest version has expanded to include new vehicle types. Failing to follow the new law can result in a traffic ticket and fines.
Parked vehicles and their occupants are in danger when stopped on the sides of Maryland roads and highways. Speeding, inattentive, distracted, and reckless drivers may not see stopped vehicles or people and officers on the sides of the roads and can lead to serious vehicle-related injuries and deaths. The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) pushed for the state’s ‘Move Over’ law to include service vehicles, for the protection of roadside workers. The new expanded ‘Move Over’ Law will serve to protect service workers, not just emergency and law enforcement personnel.
Maryland has had a previous version of the ‘Move Over’ law in place for the last several years. According to the law, drivers must switch lanes to leave at least one lane in between their vehicles and stopped emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and law enforcement vehicles. If drivers cannot safely switch lanes, they must slow their speeds and proceed carefully past stopped vehicles. The new law, which took effect October 1st, has expanded to include service vehicles as well.
Service, utility, transportation, and waste/recycling trucks now qualify under the expanded law, as do AAA assistance vehicles. If these work vehicles stop on the side of the road and use yellow or amber flashing lights or other signal devices, passing vehicles must move over or slow down. Otherwise, drivers could face fines and penalties for breaching the new ‘Move Over’ law. Violations are serious – they count as misdemeanors in Maryland.
You could face serious consequences for ignoring the stipulations of the new Maryland ‘Move Over’ law. Violating the law could result in a fine of $110 plus administrative fees, as well as a point on your driver’s license. If you violate the law and cause a collision with a side-of-the-road service or emergency vehicle, you could face a $150 fine and three points on your driver’s license. If the collision results in serious bodily injury or death, the penalty is a $750 fine.
The goal of the new ‘Move Over’ law is to provide greater safety for Maryland’s service workers, who must work alongside the roadway to serve the state’s residents. It is up to drivers to understand and obey the new law, as well as to stay alert for parked vehicles and to move over whenever possible. Failure to do so could not only result in a traffic infraction, but criminal charges and civil liability if you cause an accident, injuries, or deaths. Pay attention to the road, watch for stopped emergency and service vehicles, and move over or slow down whenever applicable.