The Colorado Springs Police Department recently submitted a news release regarding Colorado’s “Move Over” Law. In it, they remind citizens that as of 2005, Colorado requires all drivers to move over to the next lane when passing emergency response personnel stopped along the roadways. According to the National Safety Commission, 71 percent of Americans have never heard of “Move Over” laws, and Colorado has had this law for almost 10 years!
Requirements of the “Move Over” Law
Under Colorado law, when you approach or pass a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is using visual signals such as flashing red, blue, or white lights, then you must move at least one lane over. Authorized vehicles include law enforcement officers, firefighters, EMTs, tow truck operators, and state, county and local highway maintenance workers.
If you are unable to move over because of weather, road conditions, or because of another vehicle, then you must reduce your speed and maintain a safe speed while passing. If you fail to follow the law you can receive a minimum fine of $169.50 and four points off you driver’s license.
Along with this requirement, remember when emergency vehicles are approaching on a non-divided highway, you are required to move to the right side of the road and stop to clear a path for the vehicle. Additionally, when on a divided roadway and the emergency vehicle is traveling in the same direction as you then you must pull over to the right and stop to allow the vehicle to pass.
Obeying the “Move Over” Law Saves Lives
CSPD also provides some troubling statistics that highlight the need for these laws. It mentions that recently, in one day, four CSPD patrol cars were hit while in the line of duty. Additionally, on average every six days in the U.S a tow truck driver is killed because a driver did not move over; in one month 23 highway workers and one law enforcement officer are killed by drivers not moving over; and five firefighters are killed every year for the same reason. According, to the National Safety Commission more than 150 law enforcement officers have been killed in the U.S. since 1997 after being struck by a vehicle along the highway.
Even though you are not required to move over for non-authorized emergency vehicles that are stationary on the side of the road, the team at McDivitt Law Firm recommends that you still do so. Moving over can save a life. Sadly, this does not always happen, as discussed in a news article from this past November recounting a recent tragedy involving non-emergency vehicles out near Grand Junction.
For more, watch this short video from the National Safety Commission.