Maryland Expands ‘Move Over' Laws Oct. 1 to Protect Sanitation, Utility Workers

Drivers must move over a lane if possible when passing garbage trucks, utility vehicles and other protected vehicles

What to Know

  • Maryland's move over law is now expanded to include sanitation, utility and service vehicles.
  • Drivers may be fined if they don't move over a lane or slow down for vehicles flashing lights.
  • The expanded law is intended to protect workers like Marcus Colbert, a Laurel sanitation employee who was killed on the job in a crash

Beginning Oct. 1, drivers in Maryland must change lanes when passing work trucks or face a possible fine.

The state has expanded the move over law to require motorists to switch lanes if they approach any work vehicle flashing yellow or amber lights. Newly protected vehicles include waste and recycle trucks, service vehicles and utility vehicles.

If it's impossible to switch lanes, drivers are required to slow down to a "reasonable" and "prudent" speed, the Maryland Department of Transportation said.

Violating the move over law is considered a misdemeanor. Drivers are subject to at least a $110 fine if caught. If the violation contributes to a crash, the fine is $150. Drivers who violate the law and cause death or serious injury will be fined $750.

Before the expansion, drivers were required to make room only for emergency vehicles, law enforcement vehicles and tow trucks.

Lawmakers say the move will protect people like sanitation worker Marcus Colbert, who was killed while working on a garbage truck that was hit in a chain-reaction crash. Colbert was 30 years old. No charges were filed.

Colbert was the first Laurel worker to be killed on the job.

The law will encourage drivers to pay attention and "allow workers on our roadways to successfully complete their assignments and to return to their families at the end of the workday," Laurel Mayor Craig A. Moe said in a statement.

Transportation incidents are the leading cause of death at work, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported. More than 2,000 people were killed in work-related transportation incidents in 2016.

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