Massachusetts bill would require drivers to move over

| 7/22/2008

A legislative panel in Massachusetts has approved a bill to mandate a practice that has been followed by professional truck drivers for decades. Dubbed the “Move Over Act,” the measure is designed to protect police and other emergency personnel during roadside stops.

The Joint Committee on Transportation voted to refer a bill to the Senate Ways and Means Committee that would require motorists to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed when approaching stationary emergency vehicles that are by the road with their lights flashing.

Sponsored by Sen. James Timilty, D-Walpole, the bill – S2103 – would require drivers to merge into a lane further away from an emergency vehicle. On two-lane highways, drivers would be required to reduce speed before passing the emergency vehicle.

Included in the protection would be highway maintenance and recovery vehicles.

Failure to obey the rule would result in up to a $100 fine.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, about 40 states have implemented similar safety zone rules.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Massachusetts in 2008, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor