State, Local Police Departments Boost Awareness of Maryland's Move Over Law
Maryland State Police, Local Police Departments and
EMS Personnel Boost Awareness of Maryland's Move Over Law
(PIKESVILLE, MD) – State Police Superintendent Marcus L. Brown, in partnership with M. Kent Krabbe, Executive Director of the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF), together with representatives from several law enforcement agencies, fire and emergency medical services departments, reminded Maryland motorists today about the importance of the Maryland’s ‘move over’ law.
The intent of Maryland’s ‘move over’ law is to provide an extra barrier of safety for police officers, firefighters, and emergency rescue personnel working along Maryland roads. In light of two recent, separate incidents resulting in injuries sustained by law enforcement officers, the need to boost awareness of the law is evident.
On the morning of January 15, 2012, Trooper First Class Jason James, assigned to the Golden Ring Barrack, was transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center after being struck by a passing motorist. TFC James was working a traffic stop when the incident occurred.
On the morning of January 22, 2012, a Howard County Police officer, a person he had in custody and the driver who hit them suffered injuries, after the motorist failed to slow down and move over. All three individuals were transported to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center for treatment.
“Roadside safety is a matter we feel strongly about, because it comes with the job as a first responder,” said Colonel Marcus Brown, Superintendent of the Maryland State Police. “Ultimately, we would like it to become instinctive for drivers to slow down and move over, if possible, when they see the lights of emergency vehicles activated on the roadside.”
As part of the effort to boost awareness of the law, officials today unveiled a new decal provided by MAIF, to be displayed on patrol vehicles of first responders for one month. The decal reads, “If I’m on the Shoulder, Slow Down and Move Over” and serves as a reminder for drivers approaching from the rear of an emergency vehicle using visual signals while stopped on a highway to, if possible, ‘make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle.’ This movement should only be done if another lane in the same direction is available and the move can be made safely and without impeding other traffic. If moving to another lane away from the stopped emergency vehicle is not possible, the law requires drivers to ‘slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.’
Violation of the ‘move over’ law is a primary offense with a fine of $110 and one point. 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 escalates to $750 and three points.
Maryland became one of the last three states to enact the law. Statistics indicate more than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America's highways. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, there were a total of 177 law enforcement officer fatalities, 64 of which were traffic-related. To date, forty-three Maryland State Troopers have been killed in the line of duty and three of them have been killed by motor vehicle crashes.
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