Maine’s Move Over Law: Safety for Police Officers and Safety for You
By: Maine Criminal Defense Attorney Katherine M. Campbell
It is well known that when you see an emergency vehicle driving up behind you with its lights or siren activated, you pull over. But one important law that many motorists fail to follow is Maine’s “Move Over” law which also requires you to move over when an emergency vehicle is stationary on the side of the road.
When an officer pulls a person over, that officer, and sometimes even the occupants of the stopped vehicle, are standing on the side of the road. This is a dangerous situation to be in especially when on a busy road – and especially at night. But regardless of traffic conditions or the time of day, it is important that Maine motorists exercise caution, and follow the law when confronted with this situation.
Title 29-A §2054-9 is Maine’s “Move Over” law. What does the law require? When you pass a stopped emergency vehicle that is using an emergency light, you must:
1. Pass in a lane not adjacent to that of the emergency vehicle or public service vehicle, if possible; or
2. If passing in a non-adjacent lane is impossible or unsafe to do, then pass the emergency vehicle or public service vehicle at a careful and prudent speed reasonable for passing the emergency vehicle or public service vehicle safely.
What does that mean? If you see an emergency vehicle or public service vehicle stopped on the side of the road, move over to the other lane if it is safe to do so. If it is not safe to do so, then slow down and pass the stopped vehicle at a safe speed.
Emergency vehicles include law enforcement vehicles such as police cars, as well as fire trucks, ambulances, and others. The law was modified also to include public service vehicles such as wreckers and tow trucks, as well as vehicles that are being used to inspect or repair infrastructure.
This law allows emergency personnel to do their job safely and efficiently, and also ensures that if you are ever the person stopped on the side of the road with the emergency vehicle, that you will be safe as well. Failing to follow Maine’s “Move Over” law not only puts people at risk, but also it carries with it a minimum $250 fine.
So, save your money and keep Mainers safe. When you see an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road, move over.
Never drink and drive or give law enforcement a reason to stop you in your motor vehicle. BUT if you are accused by the police in Maine of OUI/DUI/DWI (Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs), possession of a controlled drug or any alleged motor vehicle or criminal offense, feel free to call the Webb Law Firm today at 207-283-6400 and arrange a free consultation to discuss your case. Please contact us today. We provide a free initial consultation to go over your case with you.