Officials remind people to follow the “Move Over Law” as more cars take the road for summer travel

PITTSBURGH — With summer travel underway, more vehicles are expected to be on the roads and the potential for crashes increases. That’s why police and emergency responders are putting out a call to action, reminding drivers to move over when they see flashing lights.

Pennsylvania’s “Move Over” law has been in effect for a few years now. Channel 11 News wanted to see how many drivers knew about it, so we took that question to the road.

“Did you ever hear of the Move Over law?” asked Channel 11 new reporter Antoinette DelBel.

PJ Sauvageot, 22, responded, “What’s that?”

DelBel asked another driver, “Are you familiar with the Move Over law?”

“If you could specify,” said Caleb, another driver who only wanted to give his first name.

Some drivers needed a minute.

“Oh, yeah. Of course,” said Caleb. “Move over for emergency vehicles. Of course.”

“Yeah, I’ve heard of it,” Sauvageot said. “They taught us that in driver’s school.”

Elizabeth Toulouse of Washington knew right away.

“Yes,” Toulouse said. “That’s when you see somebody on the side of the road, and you should get over into the outside lane.”

The Move Over law is simple. When you see an emergency vehicle, a tow truck, or PennDOT worker stopped on the side of the road with its lights flashing, move over into the next lane. If you can’t, simply slow down to pass it at a speed of no more than 20 mph less than the posted speed limit.

“It’s not just the law. It is the right thing to do,” said Jim Garrity, the director of public affairs for AAA East Central.

The law also applies to any car stopped on the highway that displays two of three things: car hazard lights; caution signs or other traffic control devices; and/or road flares.

According to AAA, people die every year from cars not moving over. Garrity said many of the crashes could be prevented if drivers paid attention.

“You have to keep in mind that you’re not talking about an inconvenience,” he said. “You’re talking about a human life when it comes to moving over or slowing down.”

Toulouse agrees.

“It’s not hard to follow,” she said. “It could save somebody’s life. It could save your life.”

Drivers violating the Move Over law could face a fine of $500 for a first offense; a $1,000 fine for a second offense; and $2,000 for a third or subsequent offense. In addition, your license could be suspended.

On Monday, June 5, South Strabane Fire Emergency Services, PA State Police, Washington County First Responders, and the Highway Safety Network will come together to highlight the state’s Move Over law at South Strabane Fire Department located at 172 Oak Spring Road.

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