Violators of Alabama’s Move Over Law will face higher fines beginning in August.
Under the current law, a violation of this law is a misdemeanor and carries a fine of $25 for the first offense. A second violation of the law brings with it a $50 fine, and a third violation and those beyond carries a fine of $100 for each offense.
Beginning in August, the fines will increase to $100 for the first offense, $150 for the second violation, and $200 for the third and subsequent violations. While the costs of the actual fines may not be that great, add court cost and the total amount could increase to several hundred dollars for each offense.
The Move Over Law is not a new law for the state of Alabama. The state of Alabama first enacted “move-over” regulations in 2006 as part of Act 2006-546 in conjunction with Georgia and Florida.
In April 2018, Alabama’s Move Over Law was expanded to protect any vehicle displaying flashing lights, including municipal and utility vehicles, Department of Transportation vehicles and the everyday motorist in private passenger vehicles using flashers. With this addition to the law, law enforcement officers can cite offending drivers for failing to move over for any vehicle parked alongside the road with flashing lights showing.
Under the law, drivers are required to move over one lane when authorized emergency responder vehicles, including police, fire and EMS vehicles and tow trucks, are stopped or parked beside the road with emergency lights and signals activated. If a driver cannot move over, they are required to slow to a speed not more than 20 miles per hour (mph) less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 mph or more or slow to a speed not more than five mph when the posted speed limit is less than 25 mph.
“We want to remind motorists that the law pertains to most every vehicle stopped displaying flashing lights and not just emergency vehicles,” Eufaula police Chief Steve Watkins commented. “We simply ask that motorists obey the Move Over Act and use common sense when approaching these vehicle.
“The intent of the Act is to increase awareness of the dangers surrounding roadside incidents whether it is a crash, power line issue or a broken down vehicle, and get drivers in the mindset of moving over and slowing down,” Watkins said. “Due to the popularity of electronic devices, everyone seems to be driving distracted now.
“We have to keep our heads on a swivel when working crashes or making traffic stops, and we have all had close calls to where it divides our attention from the task at hand to watching our backs. On average a tow truck operator is killed every 6 days, 23 road crew workers and one law enforcement officer are killed every month and five firefighters are killed yearly due to being struck in roadside crashes. By increasing the awareness of moving over and slowing down anytime flashing lights are encountered on the roadway, we hope some of these needless deaths can be prevented. “
Additional information about the law is available on DPS’s website, http://dps.alabama.gov.