In an effort to curb the dangers associated with traffic driving around emergency responders and disabled vehicles on the side of the road, the Pennsylvania Legislature has amended Section 3327 of the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code and dubbed it the “Move Over Law” last year.
As of April 27, 2021, the Move Over Law requires motorists to move over to a lane not adjacent to emergency response areas and disabled vehicles on the side of the road. In the event that it is impossible to do so, the Move Over Law requires that drivers pass the emergency response areas and disabled vehicles “at a rate of speed that is no more than 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit and reasonable for safely passing the disabled vehicle.” See 75 Pa.C.S. §3327 (Effective April 27, 2021).
Another key component of the Move Over Law is that it stiffens the penalties drivers may face for violating Section 3327, including increased fines and potential for license suspensions. For example, a first-time offender may face a fine of up to $500, and the potential fine increases for each subsequent offense. By the third offense, a driver may be facing a fine of up to $2,000. In the event injury or death occurs as a result of violating the Move Over Law, the potential fines are even higher, including a fine of up to $10,000 for a violation causing death.
The Move Over Law comes in time for July’s National Roadside Traffic Safety Awareness Month. July through October are ‘vacation months’ and they are the most dangerous months of the year for traffic fatalities. The goal of this awareness month is to reduce fatalities and injuries that occur on our roads and highways in vehicle traffic accidents, especially among pedestrians and emergency responders.
In 2020, despite the pandemic with fewer than usual vehicles on the roadway, “more than three dozen first responders were killed nationwide while working roadside incidents. That included two from Pennsylvania,” according to PennLive.
With vacation season upon us and as we continue to transition back to some semblance of a pre-COVID way of life, it is important to remember to move over or slow down when approaching emergency response areas or disabled vehicles. It is the law and more importantly, it helps keep people alive.
If you or someone you love was involved in a car accident, we can help. Contact Metzger Wickersham today to request a free and confidential consultation.