A new law now in effect in Connecticut ends the state’s distinction of being one of the few remaining holdouts from states that require drivers to make room for emergency workers and law enforcement officers.
On Oct. 1, drivers traveling through the Constitution State are required to maintain a safe distance and reduce speed before passing emergency crews, law enforcement, maintenance vehicles and tow trucks parked by the road with lights flashing. Drivers are required to merge into a lane farther away from the designated vehicles, if practical.
The so-called “move over” initiative is designed to protect police and other emergency personnel during roadside stops.
Signs are being posted at entrances into the state to alert drivers of the new law. For a short period, the Connecticut State Police will issue warnings to travelers who do not follow the new rule. After that, offenders would face $92 fines. If injury or death to the emergency vehicle operator occurs, fines would escalate to $2,500 and $10,000, respectively.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than 40 states have implemented similar safety zone rules.
Another new rule now in effect in Connecticut is intended to make sure new drivers are ready to make the grade on roadways. Any 16- or 17-year-old prospective driver must pass the “DMV final exam” before gaining their license. It is separate from the 25-question test that teens already must pass when they are trying to obtain a learner’s permit.
To view other legislative activities of interest for Connecticut in 2009, click here.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor
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