Did you know there's a "Move Over" law?


Eric Henderson
  • Eric Henderson
Over the weekend, State Trooper Jaimie Jursevics was killed when retired Army Colonel Eric Henderson hit her with his vehicle on Interstate 25.

Henderson is suspected of being drunk at the time, and of fleeing the scene of the accident. Jursevics was hit after she had exited her vehicle while trying to pull over a suspected drunk driver. 

The rest of us could probably take away a few lessons from the incident. There's the obvious: Don't drive drunk, don't flee the scene of an accident, and pay close attention when driving, especially at night. But the Colorado Springs Police Department is also trying to draw attention to an often-overlooked law: the "Move Over" law. While the law exists in all 50 states, a national survey shows that 71 percent of Americans have never heard of it.

So what's the law? Well, it really covers two points. Most of us know one part of it: When an emergency vehicle is approaching from behind, you are required to pull over to the right side of the road and stop until it passes. But here's the lesser-known part: When an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side of the road, vehicles passing it must slow down and drive carefully by it on a two-lane road, and move over into the left lane to pass it on a four-lane road. The idea here it to keep emergency responders — like Jursevics, who left behind a husband and young child — safe. 

Emergency vehicles, by the way, include: law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency service responders, tow-truck operators and state, county and local highway maintenance workers.

Apparently, a lot of people ignore this law. According to a press release from the police department: 

• Recently, in one day, four Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) patrol cars were hit while in the line of duty.

• Across the United States, crashes that could have been prevented by drivers moving over kill an average of one tow truck driver every six days; 23 highway workers and one law enforcement officer every month; and five firefighters every year.
In addition to not killing someone, following the Move Over law can save you from a minimum fine of $169.50, with surcharges, and four points off your license. 

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