In an effort to increase awareness and ensure the safety of emergency personnel, the Maryland State Police have declared May “Move Over Month.”
The Move Over initiative is being used to remind motorists that if they see emergency personnel on the side of the road they need to switch lanes or slow down. Many drivers remain unaware of the law that went into effect in October 2010.
“We thought that because of a couple incidents in the beginning of the year that injured a couple of police officers, the Move Over Law was not something that our motorists were familiar with enough,” said Elena Russo, Maryland State Police spokeswoman. “These two incidents could have been prevented if the motorist had slowed down and moved over when they saw the situation that was overhead.”
An during a routine traffic stop on Maryland Route 665 near Riva Road in the Parole section of Annapolis. The officer was hit walking back to his cruiser.
To help promote Move Over Month, police officers are displaying a decal in their back window that reads: “If I’m on the Shoulder: Slow Down. Move Over.” The sticker should remind approaching cars of the law.
Those who fail to obey the Move Over Law could face serious monetary consequences. According to the Maryland State Police, violating the Move Over law is a primary offense with a fine of $110 and one point.
If the motorist’s violation contributes to a traffic crash, the fine is $150 and three points. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash resulting in death or serious injury, the fine escalates to $750 and three points.
The purpose of the Move Over Law is to protect emergency personnel. While Russo said the law does not specifically refer to construction workers, drivers should still use caution when they see state highway workers on the road.
“The Move Over Law’s intent is to provide that extra barrier of safety for any of our emergency responders, so police officers and firefighters,” Russo said.
“Also, the law does not pertain to our state highway workers, but they should be considered emergency workers when you see them on the side of the road with their yellow lights blinking”
All motorists should slow down or move over if they see emergency personnel on the side of the road to ensure everyone’s safety, and to avoid a hefty fine.