Letter to the Editor

Move Over law promotes safety

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

To the editor:Anyone who has taken a Missouri driver's test should be familiar with the law requiring a driver to yield to an emergency vehicle. In 2002 Missouri passed the Move Over law, and in 2006 penalties were increased due to four traffic-related deaths of Missouri emergency workers.

The Move Over law requires a driver to yield to a stationary emergency vehicle that is displaying red or red-and-blue lights by moving to another lane when there are a minimum of two lanes traveling the same direction. If it is not safe to move into another lane, you must reduce your speed and maintain a safe speed according to road conditions.

In Missouri, violation of the law resulting in the death of an emergency worker while performing official duties is involuntary manslaughter in the first degree with criminal negligence. Causing an injury to an emergency worker is assault in the second degree with criminal negligence. Failing to move over when approached by an emergency vehicle or passing a stationary emergency vehicle displaying emergency lights is a misdemeanor.

The "Move Over, It's the Law" bumper sticker is part of an educational campaign to increase awareness of the law. Over 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed in the last 10 years during routine traffic stops after being hit by another vehicle. The Move Over law has been passed in 40 states. In some states, all vehicles that may have broken down or any vehicle that has amber or yellow flashing lights are included in the Move Over law.