Expanded Move Over Law Takes Affect In Maryland On Saturday

Motorists must move over or slow for all vehicles parked along the sides of the road.

Frederick, Md (KM) Beginning on Saturday, October 1st, an expanded move over law takes affect in Maryland. Currently, motorists who encounter police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, and tow trucks parked along the side of the road with their hazard lights flashing need to move over into the next land; or if that’s not possible, slow down. But under the new law, drivers must move over, or slow down for all vehicles parked alongside of the road with their hazard lights flashing.

“So if there are motorists on the side  be they disabled, stopped, parked, as long they’re displaying hazard lights on the side of the road, it will be the law here in the state of Maryland that a motorist slow down, and if it’s safe to do so, move over one lane,” says Ragina Ali, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Violators could be facing penalties. “The initial penalty if a motorist decides to pre-pay the ticket is $110 plus one point on their license,” says Ali

If they fail to move over and it  leads to a crash, that’s a $150 fine as well as three points on their license. “And if the failure to move over or slow down contributes to death or serious  bodily injury, that’s a $750 fine,” says Ali.

She says some motorists are unfamiliar with the law, or do not obey it.    It’s hoped that this expansion of the law will change that. “Even though these laws are on the books, people by in large are not necessarily abiding by them,” says Ali. “We’re hoping that if there is any confusion with motorists, they know basically slow down and move over if  it’s safe to do so.”

For drivers whose vehicles break down, have a flat tire, or they need to get out of traffic, Ali says it’s best these motorists find a place to pull off the road, such as a rest stop, parking lot other location away from other moving vehicles. “Staying on the side of the road is a dangerous place to be  whether you’re a police officer, whether you’re a tow truck operator, whether you’re motorist on the side of the road,” she says. “So if you can safely get off the road and get into a safe place, be it a parking lot or a separate facility, that’s certainly ideal.”

By Kevin McManus