NEW LAW: MOVE OVER (or slow down) when you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road

Real Estate Agent with Alain Pinel BRE 01367196

As they say, ignorance of the law is not an excuse!

Per Snopes....


Claim: Motorists in most U.S. states can be fined for failing to slow down or change lanes when passing parked emergency vehicles



Every state except Hawaii and Maryland and the D.C. has this law. In California , the "Move-over" law was operative in 2007 and amended on January 1, 2010.

If a patrol car is pulled over to the side of the road, you have to change to the next lane (away from the stopped vehicle) or slow down by 20 mph.

A friend's son got a ticket for this recently. A police car (turned out it was 2 police cars) was on the side of the road giving a ticket to someone else. He slowed down to pass but did not move into the other lane. The second police car immediately pulled him over and gave him a ticket. He had never heard of the law. It is a fairly new law that states if any emergency vehicle is on the side of the road, if you are able, you are to move into the far lane.

Please let everyone you know that drives about this new law. It is true (see details at the following web address).


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Wallace S. Gibson, CPM
Gibson Management Group, Ltd. - Charlottesville, VA

In the South, it has been done for YEARS and it is also done for funerals processions as deference to the departed.  Most just pull into a driveway or parking lot area and wait

Jun 01, 2010 05:37 AM #1
Jean Hanley
Coldwell Banker Kivett Teeters - Hemet, CA
Specializing in Folks Who Want To Buy/Sell Homes

Wow, didn't know about this law.  Will have to check it out.  I am pretty sure I would not want that hefty ticket and the points.  Thanks for sharing.

Jun 01, 2010 05:38 AM #2
Robert Rauf
HomeBridge Financial Services (NJ) - Toms River, NJ

I always thought it was a law, or maybe it was just a curtosey, I always change lanes when passing by, its a lot safer for all involved.

Jun 01, 2010 05:38 AM #3
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Hi, all.

Whenever I approach a merging lane, I always pull over to the other lane to let the other driver in (assuming I can do this safely) or slow down. It's become a habit. But I wasn't aware that it was law.

I think I started doing that after taking a defensive driving class in the 70s.

Good thing to be courteous! I have seen police videos where vehicles go whizzing by parked police cars and nearly kill someone.

Jun 01, 2010 05:54 AM #4
David Obbee - Agoura Hills, CA

Pacita: These laws were definitely put in place to help protect officers' lives during traffic stops.  Ignorance is not a valid defense, so it's helpful of you to spread the word, thanks!  :)

Jun 01, 2010 06:08 AM #5
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Hi Pacita - New laws to impose common sense (LOL) ... the fines are steep enough ... unfortunately far too many drivers will learn about this the hard way.  Thanks for sharing this.

Jun 01, 2010 07:17 AM #6
Christine Hynes
American Capital Corporation - Laguna Beach, CA
Orange County Senior Loan Consultant

Sounds like a 'California needs more revenue' law. I'm all for protecting law enforcement as you hear too many stories of officers being hit by cars while stopped on the road, but $754 and 3 points on your license and a court appearance? Seems like a little much.

Jun 01, 2010 08:55 AM #7
Vicki Pedersen
Pedersen Real Estate - Riverside, CA
Providing Exceptional Real Estate Service

Pacita,  This is something that I thought should always be done when passing an emergency vehicle that is pulled over.  I didn't know that there was a new law dealing with this.  Thanks for the heads-up.  it is good to know. 

Jun 01, 2010 12:22 PM #8
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Pacita, we have had this law for several years.  now enforcement is what is needed.

Jun 01, 2010 01:32 PM #9
Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

In California, it was actually enacted in 2007, but amended in 2010.

The fine is supposed to be no more than $50.

Click on Move Over America's link to get the details in your state.

Jun 01, 2010 02:09 PM #10
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Pacita Dimacali

Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA
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