By Zachary D. Campbell, Lawyer at Metzger Wickersham
Every driver has likely encountered this scenario –
a casual drive down the road and suddenly, EMERGENCY LIGHTS! SIRENS! Thoughts
that may cross your mind include – is there a crash ahead? Is the
road blocked? Can I squeeze by? Should I move over? The answer to the last question is easy. YES, MOVE OVER!
AAA Reading-Berks, as of November 2, 2020, 43 emergency responders have been struck and
killed in the U.S. (16 law enforcement officers, 20 tow truck operators,
1 mobile mechanic, 3 Fire/EMS personnel and 3 safety-service patrol operators).
This includes two Pennsylvania emergency responders,
paramedic Matt Smelser and
tow operator/FF Tyler Laudenslager.
A new Pennsylvania law requires that you move over and slow down when approaching
an emergency response area. If you don’t, you could face stiff penalties
and even a loss of your driver’s license.
The new law was passed in October 2020 (Act 105 of 2020) and takes effect
on April 27, 2021. Legislation amended Title 75 to modify the Commonwealth’s
“Steer Clear Law” and renamed the law as the
“Move Over Law.” The renaming helps to clarify what is expected of motorists when they
drive near an emergency situation, they should move over into an adjacent
lane to pass.
If a person cannot pass an emergency response area or a disabled vehicle
in a nonadjacent lane because it is impossible, illegal or unsafe, the
person would need to pass those areas at a speed no more than 20 miles
per hour less than the posted speed limit. An emergency response area
is where an emergency vehicle has lights flashing or where road crews
or emergency responders have lit flares, posted signs or are actively
trying to warn travelers.
Even disabled vehicles are covered by the new law as long as they display
two of the following markings: Vehicular hazard signal lamps and caution
signs or other traffic control devices.
The Move Over Law creates a new point system that penalizes drivers, two
points for failing to move into the lane not next to the emergency response
area. Violators will receive a fine of
- $500 for the first offense,
- $1,000 for a second offense,
- and $2,000 for any further offenses.
After a third or more offense, the violator will receive a 90-day license
suspension. This suspension also applies if the violator is involved in
an incident that seriously injures or kills another person. The suspension
increases to six months if the person injured or killed is an emergency
service responder. A fine up to $10,000 could apply in this situation as well.
So remember, the next time you come across an emergency response area,
don’t panic. Simply follow the rules of the road, MOVE OVER AND
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.