Exeter Township Police along with the Highway Safety Network, local towing services, and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation conducted an enforcement detail Wednesday morning on 422 to remind motorists of Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law.
Funded by federal funds from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the enforcement detail was part of Pennsylvania’s Highway Safety Program aimed to highlight the importance of safe driving through emergency response areas.
Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law requires drivers approaching an emergency response area who are unable to safely merge into a lane farther away from the response area to pass the emergency response area at a speed of no more than 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit and reasonable for safely passing.
An emergency response area is where an emergency vehicle has its lights flashing, or where road crews or emergency responders have lighted flares, posted signs, or try to warn travelers.
“Move Over gives us a little more room to work. With everyone on their phone, texting, and aggressive driving today, it just makes sense to move over and let [first responders] do the job they do to get the highway back open” said Highway Safety Network representative Kris Kerschner.
Drivers must move over or slow down for all responders, including police, fire, and ambulance crews, as well as stopped tow trucks and maintenance vehicles. The Move Over Law also mandates drivers change lanes or slow down when approaching disabled vehicles when at least two emergency displays, such as vehicle hazard lamps, road flares, and/or cones or caution signs are present.
Additionally, a similar regulation requires motorists to move over or slow down when approaching a stationary trash or recycling truck.
“Our tow truck and service truck drivers are in danger along the side of the road, they are trying to service people, like changing a flat tire, delivering gas, or towing the vehicle because its broke down. The person doing the service is out of his truck and vulnerable, and does have to be on both sides of the vehicle many times. When people don’t move over is when the worst happens” said ED Gouker, Manger of Automotive Services for AAA.
Failure to move over or slow down will result in a citation that carries a fine of $500 for first-time offenders, $1,000 for a second offense, and $2,000 and a 90-day license suspension for a third or subsequent offense. Penalties are increased for incidents that seriously injure or kill another person.
On average in the United States, two emergency responders are struck daily while working along the roadway. These incidents cause property damage, injuries, and in some cases fatalities.
Since the beginning of 2022, 31 emergency responders have been struck while assisting on US roadways.