‘Move Over’ laws are fairly new additions to the law books of many states in the US, with the first law being passed a mere 12 years ago. The first such law was passed in South Carolina in 2002, and 49 states have since passed ‘move over’ laws.
What Is a ‘Move Over’ Law?
Often summarized as “move over, slow down,” these laws direct a motorist that notices an emergency vehicle on the road to move one lane over to give the emergency vehicle clearance; or, if that’s not possible, to slow down significantly so as to avoid injuring an emergency responder. This includes law enforcement vehicles, fire trucks, and ambulances. Almost every state has its own variation of the law.
If your state does have a ‘move over’ law and you violate it, you may have committed a serious offense—the kind that could get your license suspended or possibly revoked. Even after the suspension ends, you might need proof such as that offered by SR22 insurance before you can get behind the wheel again, so it pays to know what the law is where you live!
Where Do You Have to ‘Move Over’?
The AAA website has an excellent summary of ‘Move Over’ laws, alphabetized by state. Move Over America provides a brief summary of the law with a convenient map that can be useful at a glance, or if you’re planning on traveling cross-country.
In short, 49 states have implemented some form of ‘move over, slow down.’ Only Hawaii and the District of Colombia do not have ‘move over, slow down’ legislation. In each state that does have the law, the details vary, ranging from being a minor misdemeanor to being an offense that’s as grave as a DUI. Another aspect of the law that varies quite a bit is the response required if you cannot move over; all involve slowing down, but many states simply require you to slow down to “a reasonable speed,” whereas some specify an exact mile per hour you must achieve by the time you reach the emergency vehicle.
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