If you think sitting on the side of a busy road like 495 or 95 is safe, think again. According to a 2011 report from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, more than 700 officers from 2000 to 2009 lost their lives while on roadsides. Other emergency personnel, highway workers, and tow truck drivers have also been injured or killed while working on the sides of roads.
In an effort to make the roadsides safer for those whose jobs require them to be there, Virginia has a “Move Over” law. Similar to Maryland’s law, Virginia law requires motorists to move over a lane when law enforcement or emergency personnel are on the road’s shoulder. If this isn’t possible, motorists are to slow down to reasonable speeds.
Virginia Violators Beware: What to Expect When You Don’t Move Over
Virginia Law states that drivers approaching emergency vehicles displaying flashing, blinking, or alternating blue, red, or amber lights are to move over a lane, if possible, or slow down and proceed with caution. If drivers fail to adhere to these laws, they are subject to a variety of different penalties, some of which are very serious.
- Violations in which damage does not occur. A single violation of the Move Over law is treated as a traffic infraction and motorists will receive tickets that typically include fines. Violating the offense a second time is punishable as a class 1 misdemeanor, which carries a variety of penalties, including possible jail time and fines.
- Violations that result in vehicle damage. If your failure to move over resulted in damage to another person’s property, you will receive a citation, and may lose your license for a maximum of 12 months.
- Violations that result in injury or death. When a collision causes injury to another person, the driver will likely receive a citation, in addition to a license suspension that could last up to two years. Death of another person results in serious penalties, including possible criminal charges and license suspension for two years.
Don’t Fight These Charges Alone
The Commonwealth of Virginia takes the safety of its emergency personnel very seriously, and when you violate the Move Over law, you can face hefty charges. Instead of taking the court on by yourself, have someone by your side who knows the law and wants to protect your rights. I want to speak with you about your case. Contact us by calling 888.386.3898.