The Maryland State Police are reminding motorists that beginning October 1, 2022, the Move Over Law in Maryland expands to require motorists to make a lane change or slow down when approaching any stopped, standing, or parked vehicle displaying warning signals – including hazard warning lights, road flares, or other caution signals including traffic cones, caution signs, or non-vehicular warning signs.
The intent of the Move Over law is to provide an extra barrier of safety for motorists, along with police officers, fire fighters, emergency medical service personnel and utility workers working on Maryland roads. It is hoped that drivers will become more aware of police and emergency workers and others stopped along the road and move away from them or slow down as they pass by the traffic stop or incident scene.
This movement should only be done if another lane in the same direction is available and the move can be made safely and without impeding other traffic. If moving to another lane away from the stopped vehicle is not possible, the law requires drivers to slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.
Violating the law is a misdemeanor carrying a $110 fine and one point on your license. If the violation causes a crash, the fine is $150 and three points. If there is a death or serious injury, the fine is $750 and three points.
The original move over law went into effect in 2010. In 2014, the law was expanded to not only include police cars but also tow trucks, fire trucks and medical and rescue trucks as well. On Oct. 1, 2018, the law expanded again to transportation, service and utility vehicles, as well as waste and recycling trucks, with yellow or amber flashing lights or signal devices. Maryland is now the eighth state in the U.S. to expand its move over law to include any vehicle on the side of the road with its hazard lights on or road flares displayed.
Traffic-related incidents, including vehicle crashes, are one of the leading causes of death for law enforcement officers. From 2007 to 2017, 39 percent of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were lost in traffic-related incidents, the U.S. Department of Transportation said. In Maryland, more than 4,000 people were injured and 53 people were killed in work zone crashes between 2014 and 2019.
Motorists appear to have received the message, which is appreciated. Since the law initially expanded in 2014, troopers went from issuing 5,408 citations and 12,179 warnings that year to 886 citations and 4,030 warnings in 2021 for move over violations. Through Sept. 27, 2022, troopers have issued 622 citations and 3,215 warnings for similar violations this year.