Enforcement of 'Move Over' rule starts next week in California

| 12/29/2006

Beginning Monday, Jan. 1, California law enforcement can ticket drivers for failure to do what professional drivers have done for decades - move over or slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing while stopped by the side of the road.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the "Move Over" law, previously SB1610, earlier this year but enforcement of the protection measure was not scheduled to take effect until Monday. Anyone found to not be following the new rule will face a $50 fine.

The new rule goes along with existing California law that requires drivers in the state to pull over and make way for approaching emergency vehicles with sirens and lights activated.

"This bill is about promoting highway safety, plain and simple," Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, 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."

Supporters of the effort are hopeful it will help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that result from people who don't move over. During the past five years, a dozen police and state road workers have been killed along California roads, the Mercury News reported.