Officials: Move-Over law boosts safety

Published 8:14 pm Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Highway safety officials say Georgia’s Move Over Law has helped protect people who have to work on and along the state’s roads every day, but continue to ask drivers to follow the law.

In 2009, 56 law enforcement officers were killed in traffic-related incidents nationwide. Twelve officers were struck and killed by automobiles while outside their own vehicles last year.

“Even with this current decline in 2009, traffic-related incidents are still the leading cause of officer fatalities for the 12th year in a row,” said Bob Dallas, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “The FBI says it even outnumbers police killed by gunfire.”

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Georgia’s Move Over Law requires drivers to move-over one lane if possible whenever an emergency vehicle of any kind is working on the side of the road displaying flashing blue, red, yellow or white emergency lights.

And what if traffic is too congested to move-over safely?

The Move-Over Law says if there’s no room to move over, drivers must slow down, below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop.

People stopped for violating the Move-Over Law can face a $500 ticket.

Nationwide incident reports show emergency vehicles of all types have been struck while working beside a highway even while their red, yellow, blue or white emergency lights were flashing.

“It’s one of the greatest perils of wearing a uniform,” said GOHS Law Enforcement Coordinator Powell Harrelson. “Our officers observe careless driving nearly every time they make a traffic stop or motorist assist. Anyone who works our roadways is at risk, but our traffic enforcement details are in constant danger.”

“Failure to move-over has killer consequences,” said Harrelson. “That’s exactly why we have the Move Over Law here in Georgia. And it isn’t just about saving the lives of police officers, deputies and state troopers.”

“The law also applies to emergency vehicles operated by our firefighters, paramedics, DOT maintenance and construction crews, and tow truck drivers. These dedicated professionals put their lives on the line every day to make sure our roads are safe for our families to travel,” Harrelson said.

“Our advice to all drivers is to slow down,” says LEC Harrelson. “Look at it this way, you could be saving the life of someone who may someday save yours.”