Move Over: Planned crackdown will reinforce safety

Many drivers, spotting an emergency vehicle ahead of them on the berm, instinctively edge to the left in their lane or, if on a multi-lane highway, scoot over to the left lane. It just makes sense.

In West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania, it also happens to be the law. All three states are among those with “move-over” laws. They require that drivers approaching emergency vehicles on the berm move over into the adjacent lane, if possible. It that is not prudent, motorists are supposed to slow down. Any vehicle displaying a flashing or rotating light — and that includes police cruisers, fire trucks, ambulances and tow trucks — is covered.

It bears repeating that drivers are not required to find a way to move over, if doing so is dangerous. Some accidents have been caused because drivers quickly, and without looking, darted into the left lane, rather than slowing down. Do not turn a safety measure into a safety hazard, folks.

All three of our states are participating in an initiative to step up enforcement of the law. It continues through Saturday.

Good. Too many accidents occur because drivers do not obey the move-over law. Sometimes that is because of inattention and at other times, it is because motorists simply do not think it is important.

In Ohio alone, State Highway Patrol cruisers were involved in 58 crashes related to failure to follow the law, during a five-year period. Twenty-four police officers and 34 other people were hurt. Two of them died.

So, police agencies are right to crack down on those who disobey the law. Here’s hoping some hefty fines are handed out to drivers in too much of a hurry to move over.