Move Over Law Highlighted in OpEd
By Secretary Tom Ward
January 7, 2019

The men and women of the Vigilant Hose Company (VHC) were so pleased to see the following
appear in the on the Op-Ed page in the neighboring Carroll County newspaper that we felt it
needed to also be shared with all in our community, too. VHC’s First Responders routinely work
our colleagues in Carroll County and know that they were also pleased to see this important
reminder published at the start of 2019.

Reminder about Move Over Laws

An Editorial by the Carroll County Times Editorial Board, Westminster, Maryland / June 3, 2018
Maryland’s move over law hasn’t changed with the new year. First implemented in 2010, the
law requires motorists to move over one lane when approaching from the rear of an emergency
vehicle stopped on a highway that has its lights activated, if possible (when another lane of
traffic moving in the same direction exists, without impeding other traffic). If switching lanes
isn’t possible, drivers should slow down when passing an emergency vehicle.

Initially applying to ambulances, fire trucks and police cars, the idea behind the move over law
was to provide an extra layer of safety to emergency personnel who are often working on narrow
shoulders with vehicles whizzing by at high speeds. Anyone who has ever had to change a tire on
the side of a highway knows it can be a harrowing experience, but for emergency responders,
this can be an everyday — sometimes multiple times a day — experience.
Since the law was first implemented, more vehicles have been added, including tow trucks;
hazardous material vehicles; and any other transportation, service or utility vehicles — such as
trash and recycling collection trucks — with yellow or amber flashing lights.

Essentially, if the vehicle has flashing lights of any sort activated, slow down, move over and be
vigilant. It means that people could be outside of their vehicles and are at a greater risk of being
struck by oncoming traffic.
Violation of the move over law is considered a primary offense with a fine of $110 and one point
on your driver’s license. If the 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 is
$750 and three points.
Honestly, move over laws are simply an extension of common safety courtesy that should be
extended. While they largely apply to emergency vehicles, we hope most motorist would extend
a similar courtesy to passenger vehicles that might be pulled over with emergency flashers on.
Often, these individuals may be waiting for a tow truck or police to arrive. Or, they may be
outside of their vehicle for another reason. Regardless, give them space if possible and slow
down if you can’t get over.

The above was shortened to help underscore its importance. We salute the Carroll County
Times for their championing of this important Maryland Law.

Hyperlinks: Carroll County Times OpEd