Monday, August 10, 2009

Tow Trucks Added To AL 'Move Over' Law

Kudos to the lawmakers in the Heart of Dixie! Here's the Dadeville Record story:

Law enforcement officials will begin issuing warnings for Alabama’s Move Over law this week.

The law requires drivers to move over a lane when emergency responders, law enforcement officials or wreckers are working on the side of the road. The law has been in effect for several years, but changes were made recently, including adding wreckers to the law and specifying a minimum speed limit for passing vehicles.

“The new Move Over law includes wreckers along with other emergency responders for which motorists need to move over,” said Dorris Teague, spokeswoman for the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

Teague said the new specifications were added to better protect emergency responders and to clear up confusion about the existing law.

“I believe it just provides an added measure of safety for these emergency responders and clarifies the law for motorists,” Teague said.

Drivers are required to move over one lane, away from the emergency responders, when traveling on a four-lane road.

If that is not possible, drivers must slow the vehicle to at least 15 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

On two-lane roads, drivers are required to slow to at least 15 miles per hour below the posted speed limit or slow to 10 miles per hour when the speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less.

The law will have a six-month warning period beginning Aug. 1, during which time officers will issue warnings for violations and the Department of Public Safety will educate motorists about the law.

After the warning period, a first violation fine will be $25, a second violation will be $50 and a third violation will be $100.

Enforcing the law can be difficult, if law enforcement officials do not witness the incident. Troopers have issued citations after motorists have sped by them during a traffic stop.

“If you were to see any of these (emergency) vehicles on the side of the road, and you saw a vehicle pass without violating the law, you can pull that car over,” Sgt. Robert Watson said.

Watson said he is glad the law now includes wreckers, since it has helped protect emergency responders since the original law was enacted a few years ago.

“It’s very much necessary,” Watson said. “Historically speaking, we’ve had far more injuries and deaths to law enforcement officers from traffic situation than from assaults. I would like to urge everyone that if they approach any emergency vehicle or a wrecker on the side of the road to move over and use caution.”

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