New Montana law revamps ‘move over’ rule

| 6/7/2007

A law in Montana that mandates a commonsense practice that road veterans have followed for decades is getting a face lift. Dubbed the “Move Over” law, it’s designed to protect police and other emergency personnel during roadside stops.

Montana law already requires motorists to yield the right-of-way when an ambulance or police vehicle is approaching with its lights and sirens activated. It also mandates that drivers reduce speed when approaching stationary emergency vehicles that are alongside the road with their lights flashing.

If possible, they also are required to merge into a lane further away from an emergency vehicle.

The new law, previously SB222, is intended to further enhance the state’s safety measures for police and other emergency personnel along roadsides. It takes effect Oct. 1.

On highways with posted speed limits of 50 mph or more, not only would drivers be required to merge into a lane further away from an emergency vehicle but they also would be required to reduce their speed by 20 mph.

On highways with one lane in each direction, drivers would be required to move as far left as possible before passing the emergency vehicle.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 30 states have implemented similar safety zone rules.