Move over law

A move over law is a law which requires motorists to move over and change lanes to give safe clearance to law enforcement officers, firefighters, ambulances, utility workers, and in some cases, tow-truck drivers. In the past, Canada and United States have used this term to apply to two different concepts; however, this is beginning to change as Canadian provinces have begun expanding the scope of their move over laws.

In Canada

In Canada, move over laws require motorists, upon noticing an incoming emergency vehicle (coming from any direction) with sirens or flashing lights operating, to move to the shoulder and stop, until the vehicle has passed the vicinity. This gives emergency vehicles a clear roadway for responding to emergencies, encouraging the fast response of emergency vehicles.

The Province of Ontario's Ministry of Transportation and the Province of Saskatchewan's Ministry of Highways and Infrastructure were the first to implement move over laws.[1] Quebec was the last province to implement a move over law, which came into effect on August 5, 2012.[2]

In 2005, the government of Alberta expanded the scope of the province’s move over laws. Amendments were made to the province’s Traffic Safety Act to require drivers to either slow down or move over when passing emergency vehicles or tow trucks stopped on the side of a highway when their "flashing lamps are operating."[3] The maximum speed for passing stationary emergency vehicles or tow trucks was set at 60 km/h, and the fines for exceeding that speed were doubled.[4]

In 2012, Quebec established a Move Over Law (called in French as Corridor de sécurité, or Safety corridor). Unlike other laws found in US states and Canadian provinces, the Quebec law had broader application. Drivers would have to slow down and provide a buffer lane to a stopped service vehicle with active strobing/rotating lights or active traffic arrow. The service vehicles may be tow trucks, emergency vehicles (ambulance, police, fire), or highway department patrol vehicles.

In 2015, Ontario modified the Highway Traffic Act, stating motorists shall slow down and proceed with caution, moving over if multiple lanes exist, when approaching stopped tow trucks producing intermittent flashes of amber light. The section does not define tow trucks as "emergency vehicles."

In the United States

In the United States, move over laws refer to requiring drivers to give a one lane buffer to stopped emergency vehicles. For example, while driving in the right lane, if the driver sees a stopped police car, the driver is required to move one lane over to the left to give enough buffer space to avoid any potential accidents.

Move over laws were originated in the United States after a South Carolina paramedic, James D. Garcia, was struck and injured at an accident scene January 28, 1994, in Lexington. Garcia was listed at fault, leading to his work to create a law for emergency responders. South Carolina's version (SC 56-5-1538) passed in 1996, and was revised in 2002.

After a series of similar events across the US in 2000, the US Department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration began to address the issue of Emergency Scene Safety, and issued recommended changes for the new Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) that finally addressed the need for improved standards and protection for emergency workers. With the further assistance of public interest groups such as the Emergency Responder Safety Institute, move over laws became standard across the US and Canada.[5]

In the United States, move over laws are aimed at protecting emergency responders working along the roadside. All fifty states have passed the laws, which were promoted in response to increasing roadside fatalities in the line of duty. The laws require drivers, upon noticing either emergency vehicle with sirens and/or flashing lights, to move away from the vehicle by one lane, or if that is not possible, slow down to either a reasonable speed or a fixed speed below the limit as defined by local law. This includes law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances. In New York State, drivers must use due care when approaching an emergency vehicle that displays red and/or white emergency lighting such as law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances and also vehicles with flashing amber lighting such as tow trucks, construction vehicles and other service workers stopped along the side of the road while performing their duties.[6] Since July 1st, 2018 in Iowa, drivers must move over or slow down for any vehicle with flashing hazard lights.[7]

Currently, only Washington, D.C. does not have a move over law. On June 17, 2009, Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell signed House Bill 5894, establishing a Move Over requirement in the state. Connecticut's Move Over law took effect on October 1, 2009.[8][9] On August 13, 2010, New York's governor signed a move over law to take effect on January 1, 2011. On January 1, 2012, the move over law was modified to include not only police, fire trucks, and ambulances, but also hazard vehicles, such as tow trucks.[10] Maryland's 'move over law provisions, which were approved by Governor O'Malley on May 20, 2010, came into effect on October 1, 2010.[11][12] On October 1, 2012, North Carolina's newly revised move over law, which was expanded to include utility and maintenance operations, went into effect.


  1. ^ Ministry of Transportation (Ontario) Public Notice Archived 2011-06-08 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Government of Quebec, Ministry of Transport (MTQ), "Reminder from the Minister of Transport: Move Over Law Comes into Effect on August 5" (CNW CODE 01), Office of the Minister of Transport, 30 July 2012
  3. ^ Traffic Safety Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. T-6, s. 115(2)(t) and s. 115(4)
  4. ^ Part 28.1 of the Procedures Regulation, Alta. Reg. 233/89 (pursuant to the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. P-34
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ [2]
  7. ^ "Iowa's Move Over law expanding to include all vehicles with flashing lights - Transportation Matters for Iowa | Iowa DOT". Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  8. ^ Governor Rell signs ‘move over’ bill into law, Stamford Plus, June 17, 2009
  9. ^ HB 5894 AN ACT ESTABLISHING A "MOVE OVER" LAW IN CONNECTICUT. Connecticut General Assembly, Accessed July 2, 2009
  10. ^
  11. ^ An Act concerning Motor Vehicles - Approaching Emergency Vehicles and Personnel

External links

Emergency vehicle lighting

Emergency vehicle lighting is one or more visual warning lights fitted to a vehicle for use when the driver wishes to convey to other road users the urgency of their journey, to provide additional warning of a hazard when stationary, or in the case of law enforcement as a means of signalling another driver to stop for interaction with an officer. These lights may be dedicated emergency lights, such as a beacon or a light bar, or may be modified stock lighting, such as a wig-wag or hide-away light, and are additional to any standard lighting on the car such as hazard lights. Often, they are used along with a siren (or occasionally sirens) in order to increase their effectiveness. In many jurisdictions, the use of these lights may afford the user specific legal powers, and may place requirements on other road users to behave differently, such as compelling them to pull to the side of the road and yield right of way so the emergency vehicle may proceed through unimpeded.

Laws regarding and restricting the use of these lights vary widely among jurisdictions, and in some areas non-emergency vehicles (e.g. school buses) and semi-emergency vehicles (e.g. tow trucks) may be permitted to use similar lights. These non-and semi-emergency lights are also discussed here. Research into the usefulness and potential dangers of these lights is also presented.

Emergency vehicle lighting is a sub-type of emergency vehicle equipment.

Glossary of road transport terms

Terminology related to road transport—the transport of passengers or goods on paved (or otherwise improved) routes between places—is diverse, with variation between dialects of English. There may also be regional differences within a single country, and some terms differ based on the side of the road traffic drives on. This glossary is an alphabetical listing of road transport terms.

Lexington, South Carolina

Lexington is the largest town in and the county seat of Lexington County, South Carolina, United States. Lexington is a suburb of the state's capital and second-largest city, Columbia. The population is 17,870 at the 2010 Census and it is the second-largest municipality in the greater Columbia area. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated 2018 population is 21,737.

Passing lane

A passing lane (North American English) or overtaking lane (English outside of North America) is a lane on a multi-lane highway or motorway closest to the median of the road (the central reservation). In some countries, lanes are described as being on the 'inside' or the 'outside' of a road, and the location of the passing lanes will vary.

In modern traffic planning, passing lanes on freeways are usually designed for through/express traffic, while the lanes furthest from the median of the road have entry/exit ramps. However due to routing constraints, some freeways may have ramps exiting from the passing lane; these are known as "left exits" in North America.

A passing lane is commonly referred to as a "fast lane" because it is often used for extended periods of time for through traffic or fast traffic. In theory, a passing lane should be used only for passing, thus allowing, even on a road with only two lanes in each direction, motorists to travel at their own pace.

A 2+1 road has a passing lane only in one direction, usually alternating each few kilometers. In practice, they are more like upgraded highways than motorways.

Traffic stop

A traffic stop, commonly called being pulled over, is a temporary detention of a driver of a vehicle by police to investigate a possible crime or minor violation of law.

Traffic violations reciprocity

Under traffic violations reciprocity agreements, non-resident drivers are treated like residents when they are stopped for a traffic offense that occurs in another jurisdiction. They also ensure that punishments such as penalty points on one's license and the ensuing increase in insurance premiums follow the driver home. The general principle of such interstate, interprovincial, and/or international compacts is to guarantee the rule "one license, one record."


WKXW (101.5 FM, "New Jersey 101.5") is a commercial FM radio station licensed to serve Trenton, New Jersey. It is owned by Townsquare Media. Its studios and offices are located in Ewing and its broadcast tower is located near the Quaker Bridge Mall in Lawrence Township in Mercer County, New Jersey at (40°16′58.0″N 74°41′10.0″W).

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