A new law in Oregon revises the state’s “move over” law to include all distressed vehicles.
State law has required travelers to move over, or slow down if unable to switch lanes, for emergency vehicles parked along roadsides with warning lights activated.
The new law clarifies that drivers have a choice to move over or slow down by at least 5 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.
Effective Jan. 1, the revised rule also requires drivers to move to another lane or slow down by at least 5 mph for any vehicle stopped on highway shoulders displaying warning lights, hazard lights, flares or an emergency sign.
“We’ve already taken steps to make roadside conditions safer for emergency services personnel, and now this adds extra precautions to help protect the safety of people having other kinds of roadside issues,” Sen. Floyd Prozanski, D-Eugene, said in a news release.
The Oregon Department of Transportation advocated for the rule change. The agency notes that from 2011 to 2015 there were 167 serious crashes and eight people killed in incidents involving non-emergency vehicles parked on the side of Oregon roads. During the same time period, there were six crashes and no fatalities involving emergency vehicles parked along roadsides with lights flashing.
Paul Mather, administrator for the Oregon Department of Transportation highway division, said many drivers already take precautions while passing vehicles parked along shoulders. He testified during the legislative session that the expansion of the move over law provides an extra layer of protection.
“Requiring vehicles to slow down or move over provides the stopped vehicle with an extra measure of safety, whether it be a motorist changing a tire, a disabled commercial truck, an emergency vehicle responding to a crash, workers in a highway construction work zone, or an ODOT maintenance employee engaged in highway maintenance,” Mather said.
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