Starting this weekend, Nebraska will end its distinction as being one of the few remaining holdouts from states that require drivers to make room for emergency workers and law enforcement officers.
On Sunday, Aug. 30, drivers traveling through the Cornhusker State will be required to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed before passing emergency crews, law enforcement, roadside assistance vehicles or tow trucks parked by the road with lights flashing.
The so-called “move over” initiative applies to highways with at least two lanes of traffic in the same direction. It is designed to protect police and other emergency personnel during roadside stops.
Owner-operator and OOIDA Life Member Rodney Upton of Lincoln, NE, said it’s unfortunate that a common courtesy needs to be legislated, but many motorists simply don’t take into consideration the practice of moving over for vehicles on the shoulder.
“Nine out of 10 times I’ll have some four-wheeler pass me on the right flipping me off because I went to the left lane to give a little bit of courtesy to a broke down vehicle or whatnot,” Upton told Land Line. “People don’t care. They’re in too big of a hurry.”
Failure to obey the rule would result in fines up to $100. Repeat offenders would face fines up to $500 and seven days in jail.
Exceptions will be made when traffic, road or weather conditions prevent drivers from moving over.
Signs are being posted throughout the state to alert drivers of the new law. The total cost to the state for the 41 signs is estimated to be $86,000.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Nebraska in 2009, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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