Maryland's 'Move Over' law
This traveler's message to me started off with some holiday getaway guidance, but then took an unfortunate turn:
"On the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, I avoided I-95 and took Route 301 through Maryland. There was no traffic and it was a very nice drive, with one exception. I got a ticket for failing to move one lane to the left when passing a state police car parked on the right shoulder. I must pay a $110 fine!
"At the time, I had never heard of any such law. I now know that Maryland's law became effective the first of October, and I further understand that there are similar "move-over laws in the surrounding states as well.
"Have you written about any of these move-over laws in your column?"
DG: The message reminded me of similar ones I used to get from Virginia drivers who were having their first, equally unfortunate experiences with Virginia's Move Over law.
Just by coincidence, I had this item in my Dr. G's tips column on Sunday:
"This fall, Maryland joined almost all the other states, including Virginia, that have adopted laws requiring drivers to move to another lane or slow down when they are passing near police cars and other emergency vehicles stopped along a highway.
"Violating the law, which took effect Oct. 1, carries a fine of $110 and one point on a 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."
If you want to drive in a state without such a law, you'll have to go to Hawaii. Drive north to Ontario, and you risk a ticket for this also.
See the Maryland Move Over law here. The key provisions are similar to the others I've seen:
"If practicable and not otherwise prohibited, make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle with due regard for safety and traffic conditions.
"If the driver of the motor vehicle is unable to make a lane change ... slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions."
No, the law doesn't specify what speed is reasonable, so it's best to err on the side of prudence.
| December 6, 2010; 9:25 AM ET
Categories: Traffic Safety | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, travel tips
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