California's 'Move Over Law' to Save Lives

December 31, 1969

After responding to a recent car accident on 10 Freeway in Temecula, a firefighter was hit and killed by a passing motorist. According to CBS Los Angeles, the firefighter worked for Cal Fire as a fire apparatus engineer and paramedic for eight years.

It happened when he was responding to an accident on 10 Freeway by Palm Desert. A 60-year-old driver who allegedly hit and killed the firefighter. The emergency worker was taken to Desert Regional Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

"This tragic accident affects the entire Cal Fire family and deeply saddens all of the firefighting community," said Chief John R. Hawkins of Riverside County Fire Department and Cal Fire.

Our Riverside car accident lawyers understand that, by law, all drivers in the state of California are required to move over or slow down when approaching emergency vehicles with lights flashing while stopped on the side of the road. The law is SB1610, and it includes safely steering clear of CalTrans workers, police officers, fire trucks, ambulances, and tow trucks. It's known as the "Move Over" law. If you're busted not following this law, not only do you run the risk of causing an accident, but you also run the risk of getting slapped with a $50 fine.

Move Over laws are commonly included as extensions to pre-existing laws directing a driver to slow and pull to the side of the road to allow emergency vehicles with warning devices activated to pass. These laws have been modified to include driver guidance when approaching and passing stationary emergency vehicles along the roadside.
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"We are not trying to trick anybody on this. We are just trying to keep ourselves safe," said California Highway Patrol Officer Art Athans. "Nothing in the vehicle code and enforcement of traffic laws is a gotcha make-money scheme. We are not trying to make money on this stuff."

According to FBI statistics, car accidents claim the lives of more police personnel than any other cause of death in the line of duty, including shootings. The FBI says last year, close to 50 officers died in crashes across the country. Thirteen of those law enforcement officers were struck and killed by passing vehicles while they worked outside their patrol cars.
Officials with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) are so passionate about this law, that they created a California Move Over Law PSA to make sure that everyone understands how it works.

So the next time you're approaching and emergency response vehicle or any other kind of government or tow vehicle with their amber lights on and flashing, make sure that you move over a lane to help ensure everyone's safety. It you're unable to move over, make sure you slow it down. There's no need to rush by and increase the risks for accidents, injuries and fatalities by carelessly passing.

Contact Howard Law, PC today, if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-872-5925.