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Oct 16

Maryland's "Move over Law"

Posted on October 16, 2020 at 12:29 PM by Harvey Baker

Are you familiar with the “move over law?” According to Maryland motor vehicle law, drivers must move over if a utility truck is on the side of a roadway with flashing lights. If a lane (going in the same direction) is available for the driver to safely change lanes without impeding traffic drivers must move over.  All 50 states have some form of “move over” law.  However, many drivers are unaware that a “move over law” exists in their state.  Maryland drivers are no different and absent of awareness of the law as some drivers tend to drive swiftly by a police officer conducting a traffic stop on the side of a roadway without moving over.  Lack of driver knowledge and awareness regarding the “move over” law is a major concern because it could potentially lead to vehicle accidents and injuries to police officers, tow truck drivers and utility workers on Maryland highways.  According to Maryland Department of Transportation, from 2014-2018 there were 3,400 people injured and 46 people killed in work zone crashes, and from 2007-2017, 39% of law enforcement officers died due to traffic-related incidents (USDOT, 2020). To reduce those risks and to help save lives in 2010, Maryland enacted its first move over law to protect police officers; then in 2014 the “move over” law was expanded to include fire trucks, tow trucks and EMS vehicles.  More recently, two years ago, the law was expanded to include transportation, service, and utility vehicles along with waste and recycling trucks.  In the state of Maryland, failure to follow the “move over” law is considered a misdemeanor. Violation of the law as a first offense could result in a $110 fine as well as one point on the license of the driver. If failure to follow the law results in a crash, the fine is $150 and three points on the driver’s license. If the violation contributes to a crash resulting in death or serious bodily injury, the fine could be as high as $750 in addition to three points on the driver’s license. The University Park Police encourages you to help protect first responders, utility workers and employees from the danger of roadside work by changing lanes or slowing down when you see red, yellow and amber flashing lights on these types of vehicles on the side of a roadway. 

Please share this information with experienced and the new driver alike - it is not only the law but the right thing to do to help to reduce vehicle accidents and save lives. 

Thank you,

Chief Harvey R. Baker


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