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Move Over Laws Prevent Injury

Photo by R. BauerA recent truck crash in Indiana highlights the importance of “Move Over” laws. The Indiana case involved a tow truck driver preparing to tow a disabled vehicle from the right shoulder of the Interstate. While helping stranded travelers and their disabled vehicle, an oncoming eighteen wheeler suddenly plowed into his tow truck. The tow truck driver had his yellow lights activated. The approaching tractor-trailer could have moved into another lane away from the tow truck. Yet, it did not.

Did the eighteen wheeler stop after the crash? No. The trucker fled the accident scene leaving the severely injured tow truck driver. One of the stranded passengers was a nurse. She saved his life. Yet, because of his severe injuries, the tow truck driver still required a leg amputation at the hospital.

I’ve written previously about the dangers emergency responders face on our highways. Police. Paramedics. Tow truck drivers. Utility workers. These individuals work to protect us. Their jobs often place them close to high traffic areas.

Several years ago, I represented the family of a paramedic who was tragically killed while attending to an accident victim on the side of the Interstate in Alabama. In that case, a reckless driver was speeding down the Interstate at 80 miles per hour on an icy winter morning. The reckless driver ignored the warning lights of both a State Trooper patrol vehicle and an ambulance. The reckless driver did not move to the far lane. Instead, he tried to speed through the scene, lost control and struck the paramedic. The paramedic was a young wife and mother. You can read my original post at Move Over For Safety.

Does Alabama have a “Move Over” law? Yes. And, it is a very important safety law that prevents needless highway injuries and deaths. Here’s what the Alabama Department of Transportation says on its website:

One of the most dangerous places for police, state troopers, emergency responders and maintenance personnel is on the side of the road. Hundreds each year are injured or killed by motorists while working along the nation’s highways. Alabama’s Move Over Law requires you to safely move over when you see flashing lights on the roadside. And if you can’t move over, slow down!

Alabama’s Move Over Law states that: When an emergency vehicle using any visual signal is stopped or parked on or next to a roadway, drivers approaching the emergency vehicle should (1) make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle; or (2) if unable to safely make a lane change, slow down to a reasonable speed for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.

A reporter in North Carolina did an excellent story on the Move Over law in that state. Alabama’s law is similar. The reporter interviewed a state trooper who was struck by an oncoming driver, thrown 90 feet by the impact, and spent days in a coma. That trooper is very fortunate to have lived. You can watch the interview here:

Alabama’s Move Over law is important. This law protects the first responders on our highways. Blue flashing lights. Red flashing lights. Yellow flashing lights. If you approach a worker along the roadway, move over. By following this law, many needless personal injuries and deaths can be prevented.

If you have questions about car accidents or traffic safety in Alabama, give us a call. Our law firm welcomes discussions of these important issues.