There’s a new law specific to drivers in Pennsylvania that will go into effect later this year that aims to protect first responders.
The Move Over Law kicks in on April 27th and with it comes harsher fines for drivers who don’t merge into a lane further from an emergency response area or slow down if they’re unable to. The current Steer Clear Law, gives violators a citation with a $250 fine and could lead to a 90-day license suspension if a first responder is injured.
With the Move Over Law, drivers are asked to merge into a lane further away from an emergency response area or slow down to at least 20mph under the speed limit if they can’t. First time offenders will get two points on their license and a fine of $500, do it again it will cost you $1,000 and a third time you’ll get a $2,000 fine.
Violators will also get a 90-day license suspension for a third or subsequent offense and if the incident seriously injures or kills someone. Additional fines of $10,000 will be given to violators who injure or kill an emergency responder or person in or near a disabled vehicle.
“Traffic behind us isn’t necessarily always the fire department or ambulances primary concern, we’re more worried about controlling the safety of the scene treating patients stuff like that. So, we can’t necessarily be watching traffic and depending on staffing we may not have extra guys to do that job,” Johnstown Fire Chief Bob Statler.
First responders say they hope before the law even goes into effect that drivers will start to look out and move over now.
“I just ask drivers when they see a first responder, when they see a highway worker on the road please make sure you slow down, be cautious that is somebody’s life out there. You’re in a 5,000lb vehicle and it’s just a pedestrian on the side of the road,” said Chad Miller the Johnstown Interim Chief of Police.