'Move Over' rule signed into law in California

| 9/27/2006

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed a bill into law that mandates a practice that has been followed by professional drivers for decades.

The new law, previously SB1610, requires drivers to move over or slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing while stopped by the side of the road. Violators would face a $50 fine.

California law already requires drivers in the state to pull over and make way for approaching emergency vehicles with sirens and lights activated.

Sponsored by Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, the “Move Over, Slow Down” law is at least similar to rules implemented in nearly 40 states. California’s version takes effect Jan. 1.

“This bill is about promoting highway safety, plain and simple,” Simitian said in a written statement. “I hope that it will put a stop to the senseless deaths of police officers, tow truck drivers, paramedics, and other emergency personnel who are simply helping stranded motorists.”

During the past five years, a dozen police and state road workers have been killed along California roads, the Mercury News reported.