WASHINGTON, DC (WUSA9 Call For Action)--Should you move over? Is it required by law? We are talking about your behavior when passing an emergency or law enforcement vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road.

Are there laws that govern motorist behavior when passing police or rescue vehicles that are stopped by the roadside?

A consumer wrote asking if there was such a thing as a Move Over law because of an email she had received which states this new law carries a fine of $754. She asked if the email was true. The answer: yes and no!

In most states there are laws that specify motorist behavior when emergency and police vehicles are parked by the roadside and the fines that may be levied if the laws aren't obeyed. The exceptions are the District of Columbia and Hawaii. Yet, it is surprising to learn that 71 percent of Americans have not heard of this law!

MORE: Information on Move Over Laws by state click here

Move Over laws have been enacted because more than 150 law enforcement officers have been killed and thousands more injured in the last ten years due to being struck by vehicles along our highways.

Is the email about the law accurate?

Like many emails this one contains some truth. While the Move Over law is a fact the extremely high fines seem to be exaggerations. The amount quoted in some of the emails is $754. This amount has not been verified. However, in some states the fines can be several hundred dollars or more.

What does the law require of motorists?

You must slow down and if possible, move over a lane when there is an emergency or police vehicle with flashing lights on the side of the road you are traveling. Of course, on some roads it may not be possible to move over but you must slow down. Speed limits and the actions you must take are controlled by your states laws and may vary from state to state.

Many state laws define emergency vehicles as any vehicle displaying flashing lights.

The requirements of the law make sense because we should all be concerned about protecting emergency personnel and police along our highways.

MORE:Information on Move Over Laws by state click here

MORE: Other WUSA9 Call For Action Stories here

Written By: Shirley Rooker, Director, WUSA9 Call For Action

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