Police Crack Down on "Move Over" Law

Give stopped police cars a wide berth, or it could cost you.
Give stopped police cars a wide berth, or it could cost you.

If you see flashing lights and vehicles pulled over on the side of the road, do you know what to do? It's called the move over law, and if you don't abide by it, it could cost you. We've had several people call WTOC saying this $500 fine is just way to much money, but it's being enforced because there are too many people driving around not paying attention.

If you see a vehicle with flashing lights pulled off on the side of the road, you need to get over. "A couple of officers were working on the parkway and one of officers noted the partner he was working with almost get hit," said Chief Butch Chan of Pooler PD. "As a result he wound up citing that individual."

Up until recently, the move over law hasn't been enforced, but with so many close calls, Pooler police are cracking down.

What you're supposed to do is move over into the adjacent left lane. It gives public service personnel the safe space they need. Staying in the lane next to a stopped vehicle is not what you should do. If you refuse to move over, it may cost you the $500 in fines plus court costs.

But police aren't the only ones putting themselves in danger. Sonny Yarbrough runs a towing company and says he too has many close calls and worked with a man who nearly lost his life because a motorist refused to move over.

"He was hit on 95 between I-16 and 204, and from what I gather, they had to amputate both of his legs," he told us.

The law was created to protect all service vehicles, and the state is charging a stiff fine for violators so there isn't another unnecessary death.

"They say the fine is really high, which I feel like it's high, but that's a small price to pay to prevent somebody from getting killed on the highway," said Yarbrough.

In instances where motorists can't merge to the left, the law requires you to reduce your speed below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop.

Reported by: Nicole Teigen, nteigen@wtoc.com