Move Over, It's The Law

JONESBORO (KAIT) - Everyday, all across America emergency or law enforcement personnel working on the highways are at risk of being injured or killed by motorists that don't move over.Besides being courteous, it's the law and if you break it, it can cost you big.

Corporal Chuck Wilson has been a state trooper for over 20 years.

Each day he works, he puts his life on the line, not just from criminals but from drivers not getting over when he has someone stopped.

It's called the "Move Over Law."

The Move Over Law affects any law enforcement, emergency services vehicle, ambulance, fire truck.

The law enacted in 2003 prohibits passing emergency or law enforcement vehicles to close while they are in service with lights flashing.

The law says you must move over into the farthest lane possible until you have passed the emergency or police car.

Wilson, "The main purpose of the law is to keep anyone operating on the side of the road to keep from getting side swiped or run over."

I rode with Corporal Wilson for a couple of hours and watched to see for myself how many vehicles didn't pull over.

While sitting behind another trooper we were passed by violators. Both of them were unaware of the law but learned from their experience.

If you are on a multi lane road it may not be possible for you to move over.

Wilson, "If the way is not clear they don't have to force someone else off onto the shoulder but they must slow down as they pass the operation going on when the lights are flashing.

You do not have to pull over on a two lane road but you must slow down.

Even though this law was passed in 2003, a recent addition has included a new vehicle. Besides emergency vehicles, wreckers are now included too.

Jim Gillis, owner of Gillis Towing says close calls in his business are common.

Gillis, "We've had a number of close calls where drivers have had to jump out of the way to avoid being hit. We've had em run over the triangle flairs where the trucks actually break down.

Gillis says sometimes he feels like a target.

"Sometimes it seems like people almost try to see how close they can get without hitting you."

The drivers we pulled over were let off with a warning however in most cases you can be fined anywhere from 35 dollars up to 500 dollars and you could spend up to 90 days in jail or both. In Craighead county the fine for not moving over is $250 dollars.

If you see emergency lights flashing, move over if you can, slow down or both, it's not just for safety, it's the law.