Monthly Archives: February 2010

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.

Another Sedgwick Road school zone raises questions

The in basket: “What am I going to do with you?” old friend Jack Gaudette asked me on the phone the other day. 

I had included Jack among those  named in an earlier Road Warrior column who were puzzled by the length of the school zone on newly widened Sedgwick Road at Converse Avenue.

But he wasn’t asking about that school zone, Jack told me. He had been asking about the school zone at Sedgwick Junior High a few miles down the highway to the east. 

In that earlier column, a state official had said the end a school zone can be indicated by an “End of School Zone” sign or a speed limit sign setting a higher speed. They had chosen the latter at Converse.

But there is neither at the junior high, Jack said. The only speed limit sign one encounters going either way on Sedgwick is a long way down the road. Do they have to stay at 20 mph all that way when the school zone lights are flashing, he wondered.

The Sedgwick zone got flashing lights just last year to indicate when the 20 mph speed limit is in effect.

That same day Jack called to straighten me out, Mary Gay phoned to make the same point. “I think the state forgot to put in an ‘end school  zone’ sign,” she said. Most people figure they’re out of the school zone when they pass the sign with the flashing light for traffic going in the opposite direction, she said. But with the regular speed limit of 45 mph, you’re risking a whopper of a ticket risky making that assumption. 

The out basket: I drove it and found that there are 1.3 miles between speed limit signs on either side of the school zone. 

Steve Bennett, traffic operations engineer for the Olymmpic Regi0n of state highways, said there definitely should be some indication that the school zone had ended once one is past the school, and the state will install 45 mph speed limit signs where the school zone ends at each opposing flashing light.

Gorst-bound HOV lane may get hours limitation

The in basket: Richard Hood posted the following comment about the HOV lanes leading out of Bremerton toward Gorst on the Road Warrior blog at 

“These lanes are great for rush hour time,” he said, “but they sit nearly empty at other times. Could Bremerton maybe change the HOV restrictions to only certain times of the day? 

“That’d be pretty convenient,” he said.” I don’t like having to merge at the end of the non-HOV lane.”

The out basket: That’s a state decision, not one for the city, and there’s a good chance the state will make the change soon.

Steve Kim, traffic engineer for the Olympic region, tells me they have decided to recommend limiting use of that lane to HOVs only during peak traffic hours, which probably would be just a short time on weekday afternoons. If that is done, all vehicles could use the inside lane at other times.

But they want the agreement of the city, Navy and Kitsap Transit that it’s a good idea, and they will be setting up a meeting with those agencies to discuss it, Steve said. 

The same change might ultimately be made on the HOV lanes on Highway 16 around the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, he said, but they aren’t willing yet to make that an official recommendation.