Every year, first responders like police and paramedics are injured or killed on the highways of Georgia. Tow truck drivers are also extremely vulnerable. It’s a reason for the creation of Georgia’s move over law.

Georgia enacted the “move over law” which is intended to protect first responders in 2003. The state extended it recently to include vehicles with white lights. Since 2016, drivers must to move over for stationary towing or recovery vehicles, or highway maintenance vehicles displaying flashing  yellow,  amber,  white, or red lights, reported Fox 5.

The law provides a buffer to protect emergency workers. If you are unable to move over a lane, you must slow down below the speed limit and be ready to stop. Violators face a $500 fine.

Georgia’s “Move Over Law,” is also known as the “Spencer Pass Law after a HERO driver who killed when he was struck by a passing vehicle on I-85.

Georgia's move over law

The Move Over Law helps first responders

Under the law, drivers are not legally required to move over a lane or slow down for a stranded vehicle that does not have emergency assistance. However, it’s prudent to always look out for broken down vehicles. If you hit a stationary vehicle, you may be charged with reckless driving and sued by injured parties.

The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety notes drivers who flout the Move over Law can face more serious consequences than the $500 fine.

According to FBI statistics, traffic crashes claim the lives of more police officers than any other cause in the line of duty, including shootings. Reports show emergency vehicles of all kinds have been hit while parked beside the highways of Georgia, even while their emergency lights were flashing.

A recent study by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund examined the deaths of 684 police officers over a five-year period to 2014. It found that 272 officers died from being in a highway crash. This was the biggest single death category.

Despite claims the move over law has safeguarded emergency workers, one TV news station report in 2014 claimed the law was being misused.

If you have been injured on the highways of Georgia by a careless or a reckless driver, please call the Law Office of Michael West at (404) 913-1529.