‘Move Over’ law goes into effect, police warn drivers to pay attention

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — Move over or get pulled over. Pennsylvania’s Move Over law went into effect Tuesday.

“It could be a police car pulled over, it could be helping a disabled vehicle, it could be a crash, they might have a traffic stop, you could have a fire truck in the area or a tow truck operator. We want you to slow down,” said Master Trooper Deanna Piekanski.

Pennsylvania’s new Move Over law modifies the state’s Steer Clear law. It requires drivers in emergency areas to change lanes or reduce your speed 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit if you can’t move over or are traveling on a one-lane highway.

Along with emergency responders, it also protects motorists with a disabled vehicle. Master Trooper Piekanski says drivers must display two warning signals.

“We want you to put out triangles or flares or have your flashers, your hazard signals going so somebody knows you are disabled, that you’re not moving,” Piekanski said.

“You really have to make sure that if you see lights, if you see flares, if you see something going on the side of the road to try and move over safely,” said Rebecca Rybak, coordinator of Northeast Highway Education.

Pennsylvania’s Move Over law was implemented during National Work Zone Safety Week, bringing awareness on another issue. On Monday, a PennDOT worker was taken to the hospital after being struck by an oversized load on Route 309, on the Cross Valley. Thomas Vitale of Nanticoke is suffering with a broken back, according to state police.

“It’s the beginning of the construction season so you are going to see construction all over the district. So, take your time and be careful because the injury with our worker could’ve been prevented and we want to make sure our workers are always safe,” PennDOT District 4 community relations coordinator Jessica Kalinoski said.

Drivers are reminded to follow the posted work zone speed limit and keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you.

“Motorists really need to make sure they’re not distracted, they’re not looking at their cell phones, they’re not looking around. Make sure you’re paying attention because those folks out there want to go home to their families,” said Kalinoski.

Fines associated with the new Move Over law have doubled for each offense. Legislation also adds enhanced penalties for bodily injury or death in relation to emergency response or disabled vehicles.  

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