Georgia State Patrol reminds drivers of state's move-over law
by Amanda Ryker
Mar 04, 2012 | 4348 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tfc. Corey Lawrence talks to a motorist after having pulled him over on Highway 411 West. The “Move Over” law requires that when emergency vehicles are pulled to the side of the road with lights flashing, motorists are to move over to the next lane, if safely possible, or slow down below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop. SKIP BUTLER/The Daily Tribune News
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Bartow drivers may have been caught off guard Wednesday when Georgia State Patrol troopers from Cartersville's Post 3 and the Jasper post teamed up in an effort to enforce Georgia's "Move Over law" as well as offer education to the community.

"This is something we try to do throughout the year," Post 3 Commander Sgt. Kyle Tanner said. "With the death of the officer in Atlanta, we really want to educate drivers about the Move Over law."

The law, which states that when emergency vehicles are pulled to the side of the road with lights flashing, motorists are required to move over to the next lane if it is safely possible, or slow down below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop.

"Now, it's starting to be travel season and spring breaks, got some holidays coming up, and of course, now with the weather we may be working more," Sgt. James Davenport said. "And a lot of people aren't aware of it and they'll just go by or some do it intentionally.

"Years ago, before this law, I used to have a CB in my car, and you could hear the tractor-trailer drivers wanting to blow your hat off."

Wednesday, troopers performed traffic stops in pairs. The idea was formatted to allow one trooper to perform a stop while the other would sit back and watch for "move over" violators or speeders.

"People are distracted with a crash and are interested in the lights," Davenport said. "We try to pick a safe location [when pulling someone over] and give them a chance to get off of the road."

According to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, the "move over" law makes a difference because 33 percent of all crashes occur as a result of a previous crash and providing a buffer lane for emergency vehicles parked on the roadway shoulder reduces the risk of secondary accidents.

The law went into effect in July 2003 and violations may result in a fine of no more than $500 for the first offense. The Governor's Office also says that the law was passed due to the fact that more police officers are killed in traffic accidents with passing vehicles while they are outside of their patrol units.

"We want to educate people," Tanner said, instructing troopers to hand out informational cards with every stop. "It's fine if you write citations or give out warnings, but be sure to tell them about this law as well."