Gov. Haley Barbour recently signed a bill into law in Mississippi that mandates a common-sense practice that road veterans have followed for decades.
Dubbed the “Move Over” law, it is designed to protect police and other emergency personnel during roadside stops. The new law also covers tow trucks and highway maintenance vehicles.
Since 2001, at least two Mississippi law enforcement officers have died after being struck by vehicles, The Associated Press reported.
The new law, previously SB2057, requires motorists to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed when approaching stationary emergency vehicles that are alongside the road with their lights flashing. It takes effect July 1.
On highways with two or more lanes in one direction, drivers would be required to merge into a lane further away from the roadside vehicles. Failure to obey the new rules could result in fines up to $250. If failure to comply results in property damage or injury, fines could increase to $1,000.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, at least 30 states have implemented similar safety zone rules. Similar efforts were offered this year in states that include Connecticut, Montana, New Jersey and Rhode Island.