Georgia’s new Move-Over Law says drivers must move-over for emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the highway. The law is meant to keep officers AND traffic violators safe from crashes with passing cars.

The Move-Over Law was passed in the aftermath of growing numbers of police, emergency technicians and DOT workers being killed during routine traffic stops, crash responses and highway construction projects around the nation. Right now, more than thirty states have Move-Over Laws on the books, with fines that range as high as a thousand dollars or more in some jurisdictions. The Move-Over fine in Georgia is an “attention-getting” five-hundred-dollars.

However, failure to obey the Move-Over Law can lead to consequences far more serious than fines. According to FBI statistics, traffic crashes claim the lives of more police personnel than any other cause of death in the line of duty, including shootings. The FBI says last year, forty-nine officers died in crashes across the country. Thirteen of those law enforcement officers were struck and killed by passing vehicles while they worked outside their patrol cars.

“Georgia’s Move-Over Law was meant to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities to police officers, paramedics, firefighters, tow truck operators and highway maintenance workers,” said Director Bob Dallas of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. Reports show emergency vehicles of all types have been struck while parked beside Georgia highways, even while their emergency lights were flashing.

The Georgia Move-Over Law requires drivers to move-over one lane when possible if an emergency vehicle with flashing lights is parked on the shoulder of the highway. And if traffic is too heavy to move-over safely, the law requires drivers to slow down below the posted speed limit instead AND to be prepared to stop.