Road workers, emergency responders, and others are highly vulnerable to accidents when stopped on the side of the road. Because of this, Indiana law requires drivers to slow down and move over when approaching a stationary car or emergency vehicle.
Indiana’s Move Over Law exists to protect drivers, road workers, and emergency responders. Unfortunately, many Indiana drivers are either unaware of this law or choose to ignore it – and road workers and emergency responders are often the ones who pay the price.
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Why Was the Move Over Law Enacted?
Indiana and other states have implemented Move Over laws in response to many safety concerns related to emergency responders, police officers, and others who use the roads. Some of the dangers the Move Over Law was designed to address include:
- Enhancing roadside safety – Lawmakers implemented the Move Over Law to protect emergency responders, law enforcement officers, and other roadside workers by reducing the risk of accidents while they attend to emergencies or perform their duties.
- Reducing collision risks – The Indiana Move Over Law and others like it aim to minimize the risk of collisions with emergency personnel, tow trucks, or maintenance workers by requiring motorists to change lanes or slow down when approaching a stopped vehicle with flashing lights.
- Helping traffic flow – By mandating that drivers move over or slow down for emergency and service vehicles, the Move Over Law helps maintain a steady traffic flow. It reduces the risk of traffic jams caused by drivers slowing down to gawk at roadside incidents.
- Encouraging driver awareness – Move Over laws raise awareness among motorists about the importance of maintaining a safe distance from emergency personnel and being vigilant when approaching stopped vehicles with flashing lights.
- Protecting the general public – By reducing the risk of accidents involving emergency and other service vehicles, these laws help keep roads safer for all drivers, passengers, and pedestrians.
- Reducing fatalities and injuries – Studies have shown that Move Over laws have contributed to reducing the number of deaths and injuries among emergency personnel, law enforcement officers, and other roadside workers.
- Complying with national standards – Many states have implemented Move Over laws in response to the Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA) recommendations and guidelines, encouraging states to adopt such laws to improve roadway safety.
Are There Finer Points to the Law?
While the basic idea of the Indiana Move Over Law is simple enough to grasp, there are some finer points drivers should know about. Some of the law’s key points include:
- Drivers should yield the right-of-way and move to the right lane when they see an emergency vehicle behind them with flashing lights. If possible, drivers should stop parallel to the right curb until the emergency vehicle passes them.
- If drivers cannot safely move over to the left lane when approaching someone stopped on the right side of the road, they should reduce their speed to 10 mph below the posted speed limit.
- The Move Over Law doesn’t just apply to emergency or utility vehicles. Drivers should either move over or slow down if they see a garbage truck or construction vehicle stopped in the right lane. Pay particular attention if the stationary vehicle has flashing amber lights.
Is There a Fine for Failing to Move Over?
The penalties for violating Indiana’s Move Over Law depend on the circumstances of the case. In general, breaking this law is a Class A infraction if you’re approaching a stationary emergency vehicle. It’s typically a Class B infraction if you’re approaching a utility, construction, or similar vehicle. The penalties for a Class A infraction include up to $10,000 in fines and a two-year driver’s license suspension, while the penalties for a Class B infraction include a fine of up to $1,000.
However, violating the Move Over Law is a Level 6 felony if a driver causes a severe injury or death due to their actions. The penalties for a Level 6 felony are much harsher and include up to 2.5 years in prison, along with a fine of up to $10,000.
If I Move Over, Should I Come to a Stop?
You should move over and stop for emergency vehicles behind you as long as it’s safe and you wouldn’t block traffic. However, you should not stop if you move to avoid someone stopped on the side of the road. Stopping in these circumstances is likely to cause a collision.
If I Violate the Move Over Law, Can My Insurance Rates Go Up?
Any traffic violation could cause your auto insurance premiums to increase, even if you didn’t cause any injuries through your actions. Every insurance company and auto policy is different, though. Some insurers are more forgiving of traffic violations than others, especially if you didn’t injure anyone. If you’re worried about how violating the Move Over Law will affect your premiums, talk to your insurance company or a knowledgeable attorney.
Contact an Indiana Car Accident Lawyer
Although Indiana’s Move Over Law and others like it are meant to keep everyone safe, drivers still break the law and cause severe injuries. If you sustained injuries in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, the Indiana personal injury lawyers at Truitt Law Offices can defend your rights and help you secure fair compensation for your injuries.
We have more than 40 years of experience handling personal injury cases – and those are the only cases we take on. We have a track record of obtaining excellent results for accident victims, and our good work has garnered us recognition from the Million Dollar Advocates Forum. We’ve also been named to the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 firms and have more than 100 five-star ratings on Google.
Let us put our skills and experience to work for you. Call us today or visit our contact page for a free case review.