New Md. highway law takes effect Monday

PIKESVILLE, Md. – Maryland State Police are reminding motorists to be aware of new traffic laws taking effect October 1st that require drivers to ‘move over,’ if possible, and are aimed at increasing safety for police, fire and emergency medical services personnel working on Maryland roadsides, as well as those riding bicycles or scooters.

A new law requires drivers approaching from the rear an emergency vehicle using visual signals while stopped on a highway to, if possible, ‘make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle.’

This movement should only be done if another lane in the same direction is available and the move can be made safely and without impeding other traffic.  If moving to another lane away from the stopped emergency vehicle is not possible, the law requires drivers to ‘slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.’

The intent of the ‘move over’ law is to provide an extra barrier of safety for police officers, fire fighters, and emergency rescue personnel working along Maryland roads.

Violation of the law is a primary offense and would result in a $110 fine. If it leads to a crash, the fine is $150. If a serious injury or death is involved, the fine would be $750.

It is hoped drivers will become more aware of police and emergency workers stopped along the road and move away from them or slow down as they pass by the traffic stop or incident scene.

Under Maryland Vehicle Law, emergency vehicles are defined as:

-Vehicles of federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies;
-Vehicles of volunteer fire companies, rescue squads, fire departments, the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems, and the Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute;
-State vehicles used in response to oil or hazardous materials spills;
-State vehicles designated for emergency use by the Commissioner of Correction;
-Ambulances; and
-Special vehicles funded or provided by federal, state, or local government and used for emergency or rescue purposes in Maryland.