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Thursday, May 3, 2012
Maryland State Police Reminder:
MAY IS MOVE OVER MONTH - YEAR ROUND
(PIKESVILLE, MD) – In an effort to drive home the message of year round safety of Maryland’s emergency responders, the Maryland State Police remind motorists that May is Move Over Month.
As part of the effort to boost awareness of the ‘move over’ law, a decal, provided by the Maryland Automobile Insurance Fund (MAIF) was unveiled at a press conference earlier this year. The decal reads, “If I’m on the Shoulder, Slow Down and Move Over” and serves as a reminder for drivers approaching from the rear of an emergency vehicle using visual signals while stopped on a highway to, if possible, make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the emergency vehicle or slow down to a reasonable prudent speed. Although state troopers will display the decal on their patrol cars for the month of May, the intended message will ultimately last a lifetime. The intent of Maryland’s ‘move over’ law is to provide an extra barrier of safety for police officers, firefighters, and emergency rescue personnel working along Maryland roads. “Roadside safety is a serious concern for all emergency responders,” said State Police Superintendent Marcus L. Brown, “Ideally, our motoring public will make it a habit to slow down and/or move over when they see those flashing red or blue emergency lights ahead, then the near misses and brushes with death could be avoided.”
Although the ‘move over’ law was passed in October 2010, the need to promote awareness of the law is still evident. In January of 2012, two separate incidents sent police officers to the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center with injuries.
On the morning of January 15, Trooper First Class Jason James, assigned to the Golden Ring Barrack, was transported to Shock Trauma after being struck by a passing motorist while working a traffic stop. On the morning of January 22, a Howard County Police officer, a person he had in custody and the driver who hit them suffered injuries, after the motorist failed to slow down and move over. All three individuals were transported to the Shock Trauma Center for treatment.
Violation of the ‘move over’ law is a primary offense with a fine of $110 and one point. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash, the fine is $150 and three points. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash resulting in death or serious injury, the fine escalates to $750 and three points.
Statistics indicate more than 150 U.S. law enforcement officers have been killed since 1999 after being struck by vehicles along America's highways. To date, forty-three Maryland State Troopers have been killed in the line of duty and three of them have been killed by motor vehicle crashes.