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Move Over

By Evan L. Kaine

We often take for granted the men and women who respond to those needing assistance on the side of the road. Whether it is a flat tire, a fender bender or a major accident, many of us pass by too quickly and ignore the signs of those helping someone in distress.

Georgia is a participant in what is commonly referred to as the “Move-Over” law.  This law was put into place due to the increasing numbers of policemen, emergency responders and tow trucking personnel who were injured or killed while trying to assist another person on the side of the road.

Move-Over-Law: O.C.G.A. § 40-6-16 (a.k.a. the “Spencer Pass Law”)

(a) This Code section shall be known and may be cited as the “Spencer Pass Law.”

(b) The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, red, or blue lights shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of this subsection would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

(c) The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary towing or recovery vehicle or a stationary highway maintenance vehicle that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the towing, recovery, or highway maintenance vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of this subsection would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

(d) Violation of subsection (b) or (c) of this Code section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00.

See more at: http://www.gahighwaysafety.org/highway-safety/move-over-law/#sthash.Z69SfBnA.dpuf

In a nutshell, the law requires drivers to move-over to the other lane to avoid emergency responders. More times than not, there will be flashing signals alerting drivers that there is trouble ahead. In the event that traffic is too heavy (like Atlanta), drivers are urged to slow down, turn on their vehicles flashers (alerting other drivers) and stopping if necessary.  It is pertinent that we abide by this law, as far too many people have lost their lives by assisting someone in need.

Here’s a touching video from a roadside responder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BEt-fRhVts&feature=youtu.be

For more information on this article, contact Kaine Law in Atlanta.

Published February 12, 2015
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