“Move Over” laws address two types of conditions that require motorists to move over and give the right of way to emergency responders. Under Maine’s statute, the law requires motorists approaching stationary emergency vehicles that are displaying flashing lights, traveling in the same direction, to vacate the lane closest, “if safe and possible to do so, or to slow to a safe and reasonable speed.” The law applies to law enforcement, first responders, emergency vehicles and tow trucks. A caveat to the tow truck application is that it only applies to trucks at an accident scene to assist emergency responders. In Maine, those who do not abide by the rule can face a minimum fine of $275.
Despite many public service campaigns, many people fail to realize the dangers of driving next to a stopped law enforcement officer or responder. According to the Maine Bureau of Highway safety, 19 officers in the country died in the first half of 2021 after being struck while on the side of the road. While the law was created in response to the growing concern for the safety of emergency responders, it affects all road users as these incidents can set off a chain reaction.
Recently, the Seacoastonline published an article describing an accident on the border of Maine and New Hampshire. According to the report, Maine State Troopers were assisting a bridge construction expert team set up a construction zone for a bridge project. An officer was in his vehicle, with his emergency lights flashing, when a Ford F-150 driver rear-ended him. Responders transported the officer to a local hospital, and the driver of the Ford and its occupants did not suffer injuries in the incident. Maine’s Department of Public Safety reiterated the importance of abiding by the state’s “Move Over” laws.
It is important to note that while it is critical to move over when approaching a stopped emergency responder, motorists should also use common sense when making any maneuver. If it is unsafe to move over, drivers should reduce their speed and proceed with caution. Swerving into another lane to avoid an emergency responder can result in a multi-vehicle accident. As such, motorists should operate their vehicles in a way that is reasonably safe relative to road and traffic conditions.
Have You Suffered Injuries in a Maine Accident?
If you or someone you know has been hurt or died in a Maine car accident, contact Peter Thompson & Associates. In addition to Maine bridge and multi-vehicle accidents, our lawyers represent clients in other claims involving traffic accidents, premises liability, defective products, medical malpractice, and wrongful death. Our attorneys have a comprehensive grasp of the various laws that govern Maine injury cases. We provide clients with the tools and resources to make informed decisions about their cases. In doing so, we have successfully represented countless victims in their claims, securing significant amounts of compensation on their behalf. Contact our office at 1-800-804-2004 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.