January 2015 Wisconsin State Patrol Law of the Month
‘Move Over’ law:
Drivers must provide a safety zone for stopped law enforcement and other emergency vehicles
Winter, with cold temperatures, icy roads and poor driving conditions, is the time of year when motorists can be found pulled over to the side of roadways. It’s also the time of year that tow truck operators, law enforcement officers and others called upon to assist stranded drivers are at risk.
“Drivers have a legal and moral responsibility to help protect those who must work on the side of busy roads while fast-moving vehicles pass by just a few feet away,” says Wisconsin State Patrol Captain Nicholas R. Wanink, North Central Region – Wausau Post.
“To prevent needless deaths and injuries, drivers must comply with Wisconsin’s Move Over law, which provides a safety zone for workers on the side of roadways,” Captain Wanink explains. “By law, drivers are required to shift lanes if possible or at least slow down when encountering a law enforcement vehicle, ambulance, fire truck, tow truck, highway maintenance vehicle or utility vehicle that is stopped on the side of a road with its warning lights flashing.”
On Interstate highways and other divided roads with multiple directional lanes, drivers must move over to vacate the lane closest to the law enforcement or other emergency vehicle if it’s possible to safely switch lanes. If the road has a single directional lane or switching lanes is not possible because of traffic, drivers must reduce speed until safely past the vehicle.
A citation for a Move Over Law violation costs $263.50 with three demerit points added to your driver’s license.
Wanink says that by obeying the Move Over law, drivers can protect themselves, their passengers, officers and others who work on highways from serious injuries and deaths.