Emergency lights and sirens firm Extreme Tactical Dynamics reveals details of so-called ‘move over’ laws by U.S. state.
So-called ‘move over’ laws, which today are in place in all 50 U.S. states, apply to two very different types of conditions regarding emergency vehicles which are displaying flashing lights. That’s according to LED emergency vehicle lights and sirens expert Chris Dallmann. Here, Dallmann, founder of Extreme Tactical Dynamics, reviews the move over laws currently in place throughout the United States.
“First and foremost, motorists are supposed to ‘move over’ to the right, and then stop, when they see flashing lights and hear sirens, particularly if it’s in their rear-view mirror or at an intersection where a first responder vehicle is heading toward them and needs to get through as quickly as possible,” explains Dallmann.
This, however, he says, is only one form of two common types of so-called move over law. “The second,” Dallmann continues, “applies to motorists who see stationary flashing lights ahead of them in the same direction, whereby which they are to pull to the left—by at least one lane, and two if possible—and slow down, remaining alert and awaiting any additional driving instructions from the police.”
According to the Extreme Tactical Dynamics boss, when motorists fail to follow the appropriate move over law, they risk being fined, often as a result of having hindered first responders who are trying to do their jobs. “Worst still,” he adds, “they could directly cause an accident, which, in turn, could cost lives.”
Dallmann suggests that many emergency services providers routinely face the challenge of trying to maneuver through traffic as a result of motorists who aren’t paying attention. “Other times, the same motorists may not know what they are supposed to do, or don’t even realize that a first responder is attempting to get through,” he adds.
In 1996, a bill—the first of its kind in the U.S.—was passed in South Carolina, designed to protect emergency responders while they were stopped on the side of the road. Prior to this law being passed, if struck by oncoming traffic, a first responder was held at fault for being deemed too close to the side of the road.
Later, in 2000, the Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Association began to discuss, in earnest, says Extreme Tactical Dynamics founder Dallmann, their concerns for the safety of first responders who were stopped assisting others in all 49 other U.S. states. “Slowly, over the decade-or-so which followed, each state began to mirror South Carolina, fine-tuning the law to their own specifications,” Dallmann explains. “Hawaii was the last state to pass legislation, successfully doing so in July 2012,” he adds.
“Here in Florida, where Extreme Tactical Dynamics is based, the law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles which are displaying flashing lights, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest,” explains Dallmann, “Furthermore, if such movement cannot be safely accomplished, the driver shall reduce speed,” he adds, wrapping up.
For the full Extreme Tactical Dynamics review of move over laws in all 50 U.S. states, please visit https://www.extremetacticaldynamics.com/knowledge-base/state-statutes/move-over-laws/.