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Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law: How it works

In 2020, Pennsylvania lawmakers introduced a Move Over law. They did so after the death of a tow truck driver, and injuries to police officers highlighted the inadequacies of the existing Steer Clear Law. The Move Over Law replaces the Steer Clear Law. 

Emergency responders, tow truck drivers and police officers play an essential role in helping people who break down or suffer a crash to get to safety. Yet, the side of the road is a dangerous place to work. The law aims to ensure that drivers who are passing ensure the safety of these workers.

What does the Move Over Law require you to do?

As you approach an emergency, you must do one of two things:

  • Move over a lane away from the workers. In other words, move to leave a free lane between them and you. 
  • If you cannot move over safely, you must reduce your speed to no more than 20 mph below the speed limit for that stretch of the road. So if the speed limit is 60 mph, you must reduce your speed to 40 mph or less.

The key here is that you can do so safely. If charged, arguing it was unsafe to move over or slow down is an option.

What are the penalties for failing to adhere to the Move Over Law?

The penalties are tougher than those associated with the previous Steer Clear Law. If you are found guilty of breaking the Move Over Law, you may face fines of:

  • $500 for the first offense
  • $1,000 for a second offense
  • $2,000 for a third offense, plus a 90-day license suspension

If you injure or kill an emergency worker, you will face further consequences. Understanding your defense options will be crucial if the police accuse you of violating the Move Over Law.


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