BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Killed on the job. Police say it’s happening to too many emergency responders, despite a law in place to protect them.

As Weijia Jiang reports, they say the problem is many people don’t know the rules of the road.

The Maryland “Move Over” law went into effect in October 2010, but now, a year and a half later, police say the problem is too many people don’t know that.

In January, a state trooper was sideswiped by a car in the next lane during an I-83 traffic stop. Last June, a Baltimore City police officer was nearly killed when a car slammed into her along the JFX. The impact pushed her body 25 feet over a wall. The danger to emergency vehicles on the side of the road is so familiar, drivers are required by law to act.

“The law requires motorists to literally move over or slow down to provide an extra barrier or safety for officers, firefighters and emergency rescue personnel,” said Marcus Brown, Maryland State Police.

But many Maryland drivers WJZ found have never heard of the law, so they don’t obey it.

“What’s the Move Over law?” said one.

“I would guess it’s maybe about biking?” said another.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what that is,” said a third.

That’s why Maryland State Police launched a campaign to boost awareness. On Wednesday, the agency unveiled a new decal that will remind drivers to protect responders.

“There’s no equipment strong enough to protect them from passing vehicles that weigh thousands of pounds. Highway drivers do not realize the risk they post to law enforcement,” said Brown.

If you don’t move over and an accident results, the fine is $150 and three points on your license. If there’s no accident, you’ll pay $110 and get one point.

Starting Wednesday, these decals will start showing up on emergency vehicles across the state and police are asking drivers to spread the word.

In the past two years, 25 law enforcement officers were struck and killed nationwide.

Comments (37)
  1. concerned citizen says:

    That is a law that been on the books for years, common sense should they you to slow down or move to and lane.

    1. Monte Haun says:

      It’s a dumb Law.

      People in the rightmost lane are there because they are moving slower than the other lanes and if there is any traffic at all, it is impossible to move (merge) into the next lane.

      The cops ought to be investigating why Drivers swerve into breakdown lanes for no apparent reason, killing cops, Pedestrians and whatever.

      Monte Haun

  2. Dave says:

    thanks for posting the over again WJZ. As a police officer I know to well how many people disreguard this law and to be honest its scarry. You have to many saftey issues to worrie about on a traffic stop that you shouldnt need to worrie about being struch by a vehicle but you do. I made a trip to WV not long ago where the highway speed was 75. EVERYONE on theroad moved over as quick as possible; even for tow trucks on the shoulder.I was amazed compared to Maryland. Would be great to see clips of this on the news on a few different days so people willunderstand!

    1. Logical thinker says:

      Right, I’m a firefighter in Baltimore County, and on a call on 695, and never saw anyone slow down. I was looking over my should about every 3 seconds just to make sure drivers were actually paying attention.

      1. meeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

        Father was station 4 and he always taught us to never trust another person with a vehicle… it’s kept me alive. Trusting the other cars around you is like sending your child to stay with Casey Anthony.

    2. Card says:

      Dave,I guess spelling was not high on the police test??

      1. cHARMcity says:

        Card, but your dumb @$$ understood what he said…

    3. ccr says:

      If there’s no accident, you’ll pay $110 and get one point.

      I’m don’t quite understand this 110 fine and 1 point. If you can not move over, but you slow down what are you suppose to do. How do you determine who receives the $110 fine and 1 point?

  3. mike z says:

    If you asked me “What is the Move Over Law?” I wouldn’t have had a clue either until I saw this article. But, on the other hand, if you had asked me what the the law require me to do when passing an emergency vehicle on the road I would have said slow down or change lanes (if safe to do so).

    Maybe instead of making people look like idiots, you ask the right question.

  4. DHarri says:

    This has been a common practice in the truck driving world forever, it was always considered a common practice out of safety and respect for others performing their job. While its not always possible to move over a lane you would at least slow down to give them a much room as possible. Common sense is simply lacking for many drivers.

  5. meeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

    Yea like sheep really know how to think on their own… get real… If you raise a herd to do as they’re told they learn to be defiant. There’s a reason humans and other creatures stampede without thought of where they’re going

  6. The grump says:

    i WISH the Move Over law was for cyclists. The stupid bicycle riding SOB’s on Cromwell Bridge road won’t move over, no matter how much traffic is backed up behind them. When I pointed at the cars behind one cyclist on that road, he smiled at me. SMILED ! I never wanted to kill someone so bad in my life. They deserve every beer bottle to the head they get. Maryland should pass a law prohibiting bicycles from roads over 30 MPH, roads without a shoulder, and require cyclists to use that shoulder. Any cyclist in an accident on a prohibited road would not be allowed to sue, because the cyclist would be commiting a criminal act.

    1. ulysses says:

      Amen grump. Run these fuc’n tree huggers over.

  7. Schmidt says:

    How about the police just try to pull people over in safer areas? Many times I’ve seen cops with cars pulled over on areas of 95 where it’s clearly unsafe to do so, such as the white hashed areas between the lanes at the tunnel toll plaza

    1. The grump says:

      Personal experience – I was speeding on route 1 around Kingsville (no shoulder), so I turned on a side road to stop. The Officer was livid – why didn’t I stop on route 1 (it wasn’t even 100 ft to the side road I used). I told him I didn’t want to get rear ended by another car during the stop. Al;though he calmed down a bit, he still wasn’t happy about it.

      1. Earl says:

        I don’t believe one word of your personal experience. A Harford County police officer threw the lights on me on a road with no shoulder for no rear running lights and I drove at a reasonable speed with my flashers on for at least a half mile to find a side road. He wasn’t livid, wrote me a warning ticket and folled me home over two miles away to cover my but so i could get it fixed the next day.

    2. hoodrathater says:

      gotta get that quota…now don’t they!!!! I wish they would stop crack dealing or political lying and stealing from the people…a host of other issues..

      And, ALL Deaths are sad…but how many police have been killed exactly.
      We all know if we were being killed, this would NOT be a law on any levle.

    3. Shewwwwww says:

      9 times out of 10 people just stop where they want

    4. most of that really is on the driver being pulled over, i have seen them stop both right before and right after intersections and on bridges. id just put on my emergency flashers so he knew i see him and am not just running away and find a SAFE place to stop at. i know when i was very young the first time i got pulled over i freaked and stopped right there, he came up on my pass side and told me to drive to the stoplight and turn on to a safer road. very simple…

  8. Speedy Gonzo says:

    Stop pulling people over. Problem solved.

    1. couldn’t we also just kill stupid people. as much as id like to there really wouldn’t be more than a couple people left though…

  9. katydoes says:

    I guess using common sense is out of the question? I see drivers that won’t stop or pull to the right for emergency vehicles – very upsetting. If their family member or frienc was waiting for an ambulance, etc. or already in ambulance haded to hospital – perhaps they would? Perhaps put “move over law” and pull to the right etc. on morning,afternoon,evening,late news would help and also on FB.

  10. fred says:

    That should help a lot. While 4 lanes of traffic are unexpectedly slowing from 65mph to 20mph in a few hundred feet for reasons most aren’t even aware of, lets add to the fun by having half of the cars forced by law to start switching lanes.

    Good logic behind the law, problem is the human behind the wheel.

  11. Dakers says:

    Funny, It is a Law, Well you would think the MVA handbook, would at least state it is a law.
    ON Page 22 , Under 3. Stopping,

    Stopping on the traveled portion of a highway is prohibited. Stopping on the shoulder is permitted only when your vehicle is disabled or in other emergencies. If you must stop on the shoulder of the interstate or highway, turn on your emergency flashers to warn other drivers and stay inside your vehicle if you can. The Extremely high speed of traffic makes standing or walking along an interstate highway very dangerous.

    On page 27 under B. Emergency Vehicle

    Last paragraph:

    If you are approaching an emergency vehicle that is using its visual signals and is stopped on a roadway, you must pull into the far lane, if possible, or slow down to a safe speed for the conditions.

    NO where in the manual does it state that it is a “LAW”

    I fully respect the law. Sister is a police officer in another state. And Husband is a truck driver. He has always pulled over.

  12. hoodrathater says:

    Bravo..Another F…ing (Freaking) law on the books. I have seen cops pull people over in the DUMBEST and slimest of places. Honestly, this country has long lost its way.

    I value honest police….but wonder how much safer my state would be if more police were on the STREETS; the beat vs those who conduct traffic stops? How much safer.

    And, People we have to REVOLT..Honestly, you think you are going to ticket me..but have Illegal Immigrants freely in the state doing whatever whether it be work or whatever.

    All these laws and police and politicians (the legislature) FAIL to follow the ones already on the books!!!!!!!!

    1. Shewwwwww says:

      Timothy Mcveigh was caught on a traffic stop….

  13. suckit says:

    Maybe pigs shouldn’t be risking their lives to fine people for going 8 miles over the speed limit.

    1. Shewwwwww says:

      Poor wittle guy got a ticket?

  14. Scott says:

    Perhaps they should simplify this and instead of turning it into a paragraph with if/then/else logic, maybe they should simply say, “If you see someone on the side of the road, give them some space… move over into the next lane or slow down…” This should apply to everyone and assist cyclists, police officers, firefighters, EMTs, people picking up trash on the side of the road, hitchhikers, whomever….

  15. C. Jane Cox says:

    Legislating common sense and common courtesy.

  16. ignorance of the law is no excuse… if you want to drive you better know the laws associated with that. just like the merge laws, i know here its actually illegal to speed up to the end of a lane to merge at the last second, if they would just start ticketing people it would only take 1 or 2 before they realized….

    1. meeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

      true, so would you be so kind as to state every active law in Maryland? Do you know how many active laws are in MD? If you do not know, please have someone escort you to the closest police station and ask for a book on laws… they are NOT allowed to give you any literature on laws as it can compromise their cases against certain individuals… Do you know why a defendant cannot talk to a States Attorney but his lawyer can?? Granted the cops have family’s to go home to, the laws are set up for you to fail at one so if in the case you are a bad person the cop doesnt have to look hard to lock you up, even if for personal reasons… Did you know disrupting the flow of traffic is a stoppable offense yet texting is not?? Sobriety checkpoints disrupt the flow of traffic, where are the cops tickets?

  17. Danica says:

    I’m from SC…when we see an emergency vehicle coming we STOP until said vehicle has passed whether it is a police car, ambulance or fire truck. There have been cases where officers have been struck while assisting folks in the pullover lanes BUT usually the drivers that did the striking were impaired in some form or fashion (drunk, meds, the like). Most folks slow down by default…I thought it was like this everywhere because it is plain common sense

    1. meeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

      You’re talking about Maryland here hon, there is no common sense just common.

  18. J says:

    It is important to be cautious when anyone is on the sholder , not just responders. But I must add “Who is responsible for making drivers aware of the Laws and Codes when driving? I’ve been driving for over 35 years and I can not recall one time when the Maryland DMV has ever notified my of any changes to drivers Law and Codes beyong that initial test for a license. One must listen to the news and inadvertantly hear a new law has passed that effect drivers or you hear it from word of mouth. There seems to be no mechanism from the Licensing agency the DMV to notify those it license about changes in the Law and Code.

    1. meeeeeeeeeeeeee says:

      But that would impede the cashcow that is ticketing.

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