'Move Over' Law

March 18, 2009 - For immediate release:

State Officials, AAA and Trooper Struck on Roadway to Remind Drivers to “Move Over” Per New Law

The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Massachusetts State Police, state transportation officials, emergency responders, roadway maintenance professionals and other concerned parties gathered today to raise awareness of the state’s new Move Over Law and promote safe driving across the Commonwealth. Joining them was State Trooper Dana Cresta, who was injured when he was struck by a driver last year while he was out of his cruiser on a prior motor vehicle stop.

The new Move Over Law, which takes effect March 22, 2009 aims to protect police, firefighters, paramedics, tow truck drivers, and all roadside emergency and maintenance workers. The law requires all drivers approaching a stationary emergency or maintenance vehicle with flashing lights to move to the next adjacent lane if it is safe to do so, and, barring that, to reduce their speed. Drivers who violate the Move Over Law face a fine of up to $100.

“In just four days the Move Over Law will take effect, and we want to get the word out to all drivers to help protect our emergency and maintenance vehicle workers,” EOPSS Director of Highway Safety Sheila Burgess said at the event, held at State Police General Headquarters in Framingham. “Making it home safely can be as simple as slowing down and moving over when you are faced with vehicles on the side of the road. Not doing so can have serious or even fatal consequences.”

Every year, first responders across the country are injured or killed while providing emergency roadside help. In recent months, several Massachusetts state troopers have been injured on the job. According to the Merit Rating Board, in 2008 there were nearly 2,000 violations of Chapter 89 Sec. 7a which deals with obstructing emergency vehicles including failure to yield and following too closely.

“The Massachusetts State Police know all too dearly the consequences of drivers failing to use caution when approaching troopers, local police officers, firefighters, EMTs, tow drivers and highway workers who are performing their duties at the side of the road,” said Colonel Mark F. Delaney, superintendent of the State Police. “We are grateful to the Patrick Administration and the Legislature for making this much needed new law a priority, and helping protect those whose job is to protect the public.”

Added MassHighway Commissioner Luisa Paiewonsky: “Obeying the Move Over Law will help protect drivers, as well as officers and highway workers, from needless injury or even death. Highway safety is a top priority in Massachusetts thanks to a strong partnership among agencies who are dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roadways. This law is an important step in improving road safety.”

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