As an avid road tripper, I have had my fair share of car trouble and breakdowns. Being pulled over on the side of the highway can be a really scary experience. The speed of vehicles driving past you traveling 65+ miles an hour will make your entire car shake. I can only imagine how scary it would be working as a first responder on the side of the highway. That is why in 2009, Rhode Island passed the “Move Over law”. This state law requires that drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights and traveling in the same direction should slow to a safe speed and if possible, vacate the lane. So in other words, if you are driving on 295 north and see a police officer on the side of the highway, when possible change lanes. If you are unable to change lanes, then you must slow down until you pass the vehicle.
This law is meant to protect those people working on the sides of highways; this includes construction workers, tow truck drivers and first responders. Although in effect for over six years, Rhode Island State Troopers say that on a daily basis only 2 in 10 cars will move over or slow down when they see vehicles on the side of the highway. In the past three years, 13 state troopers have been struck and over 24 DOT (Department Of Transportation) vehicles have been hit while being parked on the side of the road. As a result of this, officers say they are cracking down on ticketing people who do not obey this law. In 2012, 235 tickets were issued, this amount tripled in 2014 with 665 violators receiving tickets. The biggest challenge with this law is lack of knowledge, with 71% percent of people polled saying that they did not know that this was an actual law. However, everyone polled agreed that it was common sense and seemed like a safe practice to follow.
It goes without saying that driving violations are expensive. Fines for violating the “Move Over Law” begin at $85 dollars. They also have a negative effect on your insurance, and could cause your auto insurance premiums to increase. So drive safe, move over, and obey the law!
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