Have you heard of the “Move Over Law?”


The in basket: The in basket: Beverly Hanson of Bremerton wrote to say, “When I recently was visiting Florida, I was made aware of the Move-Over Law enacted there, meaning that when there is police or emergency car pulled over to the side, you must, if at all possible, move into another lane even if that emergency vehicle is not in a lane. 

“They have a large fine for not complying and reflects points which can make your insurance increase as well. 

“Lately,” Beverly said, “I have been reading that the Move Over Law is in place in most states.  Washington State was not listed as being one that doesn’t have the law, so am I to assume it is in place. 

“If so, there sure isn’t any notice about it.  We all know to slow down, but getting into another lane is not in our consciousness at this time.”

The out basket. Well, allow me to make it a little more well known. This state has had the same law, also called the Move Over Law, in force since 2005. 

State Trooper Krista Hedstrom of the Bremerton detachment says, “Last year, troopers statewide stopped 997 cars for this violation, (of which) 245 received $124 infractions. 

“I know the Seattle-based media (KING5, KOMO4, KIRO7, Q13) have all covered this issue numerous times. There was also a large campaign done throughout Kitsap County when this law became effective in 2005.  The (state traffic safety commission) printed up brochures containing information on the law, which are still handed out at public safety events.

“And still,” she said, “I see drivers violating this law on a regular basis.  Usually when this violation occurs, the trooper is already on a traffic stop and cannot drop what they are doing to chase after the driver who failed to move over.  Troopers will continue to stop drivers for this violation.”

The law also protects tow trucks, fire engines, ambulances and highways crews working on emergency repairs, when they have their emergency lights flashing. A police officer is less likely to be tied down on another detail and able to come after you in those cases.

“We plan to do an emphasis soon focusing on this violation, ” Krista  said. 
“It is so common – we hear about police vehicles and WSDOT vehicles getting rear ended all the time.

You don’t have to move over it isn’t safe to do so (as when another car is in the next lane), the law says, but you must slow down if you can’t move over.

5 thoughts on “Have you heard of the “Move Over Law?”

  1. If there’s traffic in the left lane, and not enough room to safely move over, put your left blinker on anyway — but do not crowd your way into the lane. Let those in the left lane know there’s something up ahead. It should also be against the law to overtake someone in the right lane when they’re about to pass an officer involved in a traffic stop on the shoulder.

    Too many people can’t be bothered to give consideration to the trooper or sheriff or whoever on the shoulder, and wouldn’t yield if someone’s life depended on it. Which it does. Selfish idiots.

    Good. Give them a ticket. They’ve earned. And why not do a body cavity search while thery’re pulled over, as well. Maybe they’ll engage their brain next time…

  2. The Move over law has been in place in the State of Ohio for years. But also the State of Ohio and the state of Kentucky also have a law requiring drivers to give commercial truck drivers enough room ahead of them before you go over in front of them. Something about accident prevention.
    Matt and anyone else who feels that they should drive slow in the left passing lane you should be make aware of at least 2 different road signs found on Washington State Highways.
    One which I have seen on Interstate 5 which clearly says “Keep Right Except To Pass” The other on Washington State Highway 3 which clearly says “Slower Traffic Keep Right”.
    Willy, Officers of the Law do take into consideration of traffic in left lane and that is the reason why Washington State Law Enforcement approach the traffic offender from the right side of the vehicle so as not to get hit when administering at ticket. And from a point of safety. You should remember from taking Drivers Eduction or even the State Driving Course Booklet, which can be picked up at most State Department of Motor Vehicle Offices or the County Administrators Office, on a 4 lane divided highway you are required to maintain a safe braking distance between vehicles. This is not a place for any driver to merge into and slow down to get a safe driving distance.

  3. Willy, I think you’re overreacting just a bit. I’m sure you’ve seen the same videos as I have showing cops getting hit or rear-ended during a traffic stop. Almost every time though, the driver was asleep or drinking(or talking on a cellphone which is another subject that I’m not even going to get into). The fact that there is a law requiring you to move over means nothing to them. Val, I agree completely. I wish those signs were enforced more often.

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