MICHIGAN’S MOVE OVER LAW
What is Michigan’s Move Over Law and How Does it Work?
What is Michigan’s Move Over Law?
In 2022, Michigan launched a campaign to implement and broaden its Move Over law.
Michigan’s Move Over law states that when approaching a stationary authorized vehicle with flashing, rotating, or oscillating lights, the Move Over law requires drivers to:
- Slow down to 10 mph below the posted speed limit; and
- Move over to an open lane, leaving one lane between you and the disabled vehicle on the side of the road.
Police officers and prosecutors take this violation very seriously, because not only does it affect public safety, but it also puts the lives of police officers and other authorized personnel as they attempt to do their jobs. There have been many examples of injured authorized personnel due to drivers disobeying this rule.
What authorized emergency vehicles fall under this law?
For years, Move Over law efforts focused on emergency responders, but the laws broadened the scope to include the protection of those who come to the aid of motorists. The law now applies to police, fire, rescue, ambulance, and road service vehicles. Note that road service vehicles include tow trucks and courtesy vehicles that are operated by the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT).
Where does this law apply?
This law applies to all Michigan public roadways that have at least two adjacent lanes going in the same direction of the stationary authorized emergency vehicle. If the public roadway does not have at least two adjacent lanes going in the same direction, you are not required to move over, but you are still required to slow down to at least 10 mph under the posted speed limit.
What if it is not possible to move over?
Sometimes, there are conditions on the road that make it unsafe to move over for an authorized emergency vehicle. This may include bad weather, road c conditions, or the immediate presence of vehicles or pedestrians in the lanes next to you. In those situations, you are not required to move over, but you are still required to slow down to at least 10 mph under the posted speed limit.
What is the penalty for breaking Michigan’s Move Over Law?
If you fail to slow down and move over for a stationary authorized vehicle while it has flashing, rotating, or oscillating lights activated, you may be issued a ticket citation for Failure to Yield to Stationary Authorized Emergency Responder.
This ticket is a civil infraction, meaning it carries a fine but is not a jail-able offense. Instead, it carries two points on your driving record with the Secretary of State and a $400 fine to the local court. This means it also will be reported to Secretary of State, which will impact your record in multiple ways. Because it is report, your automobile insurance carrier will become aware of the ticket, and your insurance premium will increase.
Additionally, by accruing points on your record, you are putting yourself at risk of losing your license and ability to legally drive. Lastly, by having this violation on your record, law enforcement will always be able to see it. It may have an impression that you are a reckless driver and have no regard to the safety of police officers. That, alongside the fact that the more infractions you have on your record, will make it less likely that a police officer would cut you a break on the road the next time you are pulled over. This also applies to a prosecutor’s likelihood of reducing it.
What happens if you violate the Move Over law and hit someone?
The penalty for violating the Move Over law and hitting someone depends on the injury sustained by the injured individual. If you injure a police officer, firefighter, or other emergency response personnel, you may be guilty of a felony. This felony is punishable by up to 2 years in prison and/or a $1,000 fine. If the violation caused the death of an officer, firefighter, or other emergency response personnel, you may face felony charges and enhanced penalties of up to 15 years in prison and/or a $7,500 fine.
If you are charged with violating Michigan’s Move Over law or given a ticket citation, contact a Michigan traffic attorney today
If you received a traffic ticket, speak to an experienced Michigan traffic attorney immediately. Call us at (248) 834-3430 for a free initial consultation.