It is important to stay abreast of new driving laws, not only for those operating motor vehicles but for passengers and pedestrians as well. In late October 2020, a new Pennsylvania law concerning emergency response areas was established. It went into effect this spring.
Called the “Move Over” law, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation rule is aimed at keeping emergency responders safe while working close to moving traffic on a road or highway. They are often the first to arrive at an automobile accident.
The new Move Over law establishes new speed regulations for motorists coming upon an emergency response scene, specifically those unable to move into a lane further from the response zone.
Previously under the Commonwealth’s “Steer Clear” law, drivers unable to merge away from an accident response were mandated to reduce their speed, but no exact decrease in speed or maximum speed limit was specified.
The new Pennsylvania Move Over law states that drivers must pass emergency response areas at a speed of no more than 20 mph less than the posted speed limit.
Therefore, if coming upon an emergency vehicle with flashing lights or posted emergency signs, with a speed limit in the area of 50 mph, a driver can go no faster than 30 mph.
The new law imposes both fines and penalty points on those failing to merge and/or slow down in emergency response areas. Failure to comply with the updated rules will assign two points to a person’s license and fines of:
- $500 for the first offense,
- $1,000 for the second offense, and
- $2,000 for third and subsequent offenses
Additionally, a driver’s license will be suspended after a third offense.
The law also highlights the danger that moving traffic can pose to first responders and roadside assistant workers like tow operators. Drivers who injure or kill an emergency service responder or a person in or near a disabled vehicle can incur a fine up to $10,000.
In addition, fines for certain additional traffic violations, such as reckless driving or driving under the influence, are doubled when committed in an emergency response area where first responders are present.
It is important to stay updated on the driving laws in Pennsylvania. You should also be prepared for an automobile accident, such as knowing what to do after a car accident and who pays your medical bills. If you’ve been in an automobile accident, contact Dugan & Associates. Our attorneys will work with you to ensure you receive every dollar you deserve.