Patrol Explains Penalty Changes For Violations Of Move Over Law
For further information please contact:
Captain J. "Tim" Hull
August 25, 2006
EMPHASIS: Changes In Penalties For Violation Of Move Over Law
Missouri motorists are familiar with the emergency vehicle law requiring motorists to yield to emergency vehicles traveling on the highways. However, in 2002, the Missouri Legislature passed a law requiring motorists to yield to stationary emergency vehicles on the shoulder, which have their red or red and blue emergency lights activated. Section 304.022 RSMo states, “Upon the immediate approach of an emergency vehicle giving audible signal by siren or while having at least one lighted lamp exhibiting red light visible under normal atmospheric conditions from a distance of 500 feet to the front of such vehicle or a flashing blue light authorized by Section 307.175 RSMo, the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way and shall immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as far as possible to the right of, the traveled portion of the highway and thereupon stop and remain in such position until such emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police or traffic officer.
Upon approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying lighted red or red and blue lights, the driver of every motor vehicle shall:
(1) Proceed with caution and yield the right-of-way, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic conditions, by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the stationary vehicle, if on a roadway having at least four lanes with not less than two lanes proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle; or
(2) Proceed with due caution and reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions, if changing lanes would be unsafe or impossible.”
Effective August 28, 2006, the penalties for violation of this statute, also referred to as the “Move Over Law,” will increase for motorists who fail to move over when approached by an oncoming emergency vehicle and motorists who fail to move over when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor.
More serious penalties for violation of the Move Over law when injury or death results from the violation will also take effect on August 28. Under this act, a person commits the crime of involuntary manslaughter in the 1st degree if he or she fails to move over into another lane of traffic or slow down when he or she approaches a stationary emergency vehicle and with criminal negligence causes the death of an emergency worker. A violation in this nature is a Class B felony (Section 565.024). Under this act, a person commits the crime of assault in the 2nd degree if he or she fails to move over into another lane of traffic or slow down when he or she approaches a stationary emergency vehicle and with criminal negligence causes injury to an emergency worker performing his or her official duties.
Colonel Roger D. Stottlemyre, superintendent of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, reminds motorists that Missouri’s highways and shoulders are emergency worker’s office areas. “We have lost far too many emergency workers due to being struck by cars on the highway at emergency scenes and on traffic stops. We ask motorists to be attentive to their driving, follow all the traffic laws, and yield to emergency vehicles on the shoulder and ‘Move Over’ It’s the law.”