On Maryland highways, it is common to see vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Whether it is a stranded passenger vehicle, a tow truck, a work vehicle or a law enforcement cruiser during an investigation, this is always a potential cause of auto accidents. Drivers who are passing stopped vehicles may not reduce their speed or move over in time. A recent change to the law strives to address that and cite drivers who fail to adhere to it.
Understanding the move over law and why it is necessary
Workers who perform highway maintenance or repairs, first responders and tow truck drivers took part in a AAA survey discussing risks they face doing roadside work. More than nine out of 10 stated they came close to being involved in a collision and were concerned about their safety as other vehicles sped by. Since 2019, there were 38 accidents under these circumstances where state vehicles were involved as they tended to stalled motorists.
Under the new law, drivers are now required to either reduce their speed or change lanes if they see a vehicle ahead of them with its hazard lights flashing or signal flares evident. Before the law was expanded, drivers were only required to move over if it was a law enforcement vehicle, an ambulance, a fire truck, tow trucks and utility vehicles.
Now, any vehicle stopped on the side of the road with its flashers activated or flares in the road means drivers must move over or slow down. Drivers who violate the law the first time will be fined and receive a point on their driver’s license. When there is an accident, the penalties grow harsher.
People injured in auto accidents should understand their rights
Although this law is intended to dissuade drivers from speeding past stopped vehicles, the problem is likely to continue. As with speeding, distracted driving, recklessness and drunk driving, many drivers flout certain laws and put themselves and others in jeopardy of injuries and death in an auto accident.
If a person is injured or a family loses a loved one in a crash because a driver did not move over or slow down as they were supposed to, it is imperative to know the available options. Recovering compensation after a collision can include medical expenses, lost income, physical and emotional trauma and more. The investigation is crucial and consulting with those experienced in assessing these cases and moving forward is essential to effectively pursuing a claim.