Cumberland Times-News

October 21, 2013

Move over!

Take care when passing emergency vehicles

Cumberland Times-News

— Most of us are aware that state troopers and other police officers place their lives on the line every day on our behalf.

One way they do this — and we may not realize it — takes place when they are doing their duty making a traffic stop.

Hard as it may be to believe that a motorist might not see a police car or any other emergency response vehicle parked at the side of the road with its emergency lights operating, it happens.

Within a four-day period this month, one trooper was seriously injured and another trooper’s cruiser was destroyed by motorists who weren’t paying attention (he was outside the vehicle and not injured).

In both incidents, the driver failed to move over and give room, or to slow down.

Maryland’s “move over” law requires drivers to pay attention when passing emergency vehicles that are stopped with their lights activated.

Motorists are to change into an available lane that’s not next to the vehicle, but only when it’s safe to do so. If no lane is available, drivers are to slow down as they pass by.

Violation of the law is a primary offense with a fine of $110 and one point. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash, the fine is $150 and three points.  If the violation contributes to a traffic crash resulting in death or serious injury, the fine is $750 and three points.

Most of us would not pass a school bus that’s stopped in the roadway to discharge passengers with its warning lights activated. We should be equally careful when passing police cars, ambulances, fire trucks or other emergency vehicles.