Maryland State Police are kicking off coordinated traffic initiatives to remind motorists to move over when emergency vehicles are stopped on the side of the road.
In the past two weeks, one trooper was struck and critically injured and another trooper’s car was destroyed by drivers who failed to move over after seeing emergency lights. MSP said special enforcement operations will be underway in every area of the state and drivers should be alert.
Trooper Jacqueline Kline was struck by a passing vehicle on October 6 while she was assisting another trooper on the shoulder of Rt. 100 in Anne Arundel County. The preliminary investigation indicates the driver failed to move over as he passed the two marked police cars with their emergency lights activated.
Kline remains hospitalized in critical condition.
While investigating a crash on I-695 in Baltimore County on October 12, Trooper First Class Justin Updegraff’s marked patrol car was destroyed when a driver failed to move over or slow down. Fortunately, Updegraff was outside his vehicle when it was struck and he did not sustain any injuries.
The intent of the ‘move over’ law is to provide an extra barrier of safety for police officers, firefighters, and emergency rescue personnel working on Maryland roads.
The law requires drivers approaching from the rear of a stopped emergency vehicle with it lights activated, to change into an available lane not next to the emergency vehicle. This movement should only be done if safe to do so.
When there is no available lane for drivers to move over into, such as on a single lane road, drivers are required to slow to a reasonable and prudent speed as they pass the emergency scene.
Violation of the ‘move over’ law is a primary offense with a fine of $110 and one point. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash, the fine is $150 and three points. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash resulting in death or serious injury, the fine is $750 and three points.