What is the Move Over (“Steer Clear”) Law in Pennsylvania?
When passing by emergency response areas or disabled vehicles in Pennsylvania, drivers are required to move over into a non-adjacent lane if possible and, if not possible, to slow down considerably. Following Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law is crucial to prevent car accidents in these situations.
The Move Over Law, which is essentially an expanded version of Pennsylvania’s previous Steer Clear Law, requires drivers to merge into non-adjacent lanes or slow down considerably when approaching emergency response areas or disabled vehicles. Consequences for violating this law can be severe and may result in fines or license suspension for negligent drivers. Victims struck by a driver ignoring the Move Over Law can file a lawsuit for compensation in Pennsylvania, as violating traffic laws may be considered negligent.
Contact the Pennsylvania car accident attorneys at The Reiff Law Firm to schedule a free case evaluation by calling (215) 709-6940 today.
Requirements of Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law
While the Steer Clear Law was once a defining rule of the road in Pennsylvania, it has been enhanced in recent years and to become the Move Over Law, 75 Pa.C.S. § 3327. This piece of legislation concerns the proper behavior of drivers in Pennsylvania when approaching an emergency vehicle on the road. The two-fold law requires drivers to move over to a far lane when approaching an emergency response area or a disabled vehicle. Should that be impossible, drivers must slow down to reduce the likelihood of a car accident occurring in Pennsylvania.
When drivers approach an emergency response area, like a car accident scene or a traffic stop involving emergency vehicles, they must merge into a non-adjacent or farthest lane, if possible. This is a crucial tenant of Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law. This requirement also applies to drivers approaching disabled vehicles. If a driver sees a car that is visibly damaged from an accident or is otherwise disabled on the road, they must merge into the farthest lane if possible. For example, if there is an obstruction due to a damaged car in the right lane, and you are driving on a three-lane road, you must move into the left-most lane if you can do so safely in Pennsylvania.
While Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law prioritizes drivers merging into lanes non-adjacent to lanes containing emergency response areas and disabled vehicles, doing so is not always possible. Congested traffic, speeding drivers, or dangerous road conditions might make merging unsafe for drivers approaching emergencies or disabled vehicles. When drivers cannot safely merge into non-adjacent lanes, they must slow down. Drivers in these situations must slow to speeds of at least 20 mph lower than the posted speed limit for the area. For example, if you are driving on a road with a speed limit of 50 mph and cannot merge into a non-adjacent lane when approaching a disabled vehicle or emergency response area, you must slow to 30 mph.
Penalties for Drivers that Violate the Pennsylvania Move Over Law
In an effort to reduce the number of car accidents occurring from negligent drivers ignoring emergency response areas or obstructions caused by disabled vehicles, there are penalties associated with violating Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law.
The Move Over Law expanded upon the Steer Clear Law by imposing additional penalties on violators. In Pennsylvania, those that do not adhere to the rules of the road dictated by the Move Over Law may face a fine of up to $500 for the first offense. For a second offense, the fine increases to $1,000. The third offense for violating the Move Over Law may come with a fine of up to $2,000.
Drivers who violate the Move Over Law three or more times or violate it and cause an accident that results in bodily injury or death may see their driver’s licenses suspended for a period of six months to a year.
There may be additional fines and penalties ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 for drivers who violate the Move Over Law and cause injury or death to an emergency responder or other person in Pennsylvania. Fines might also be doubled in some circumstances.
Can You Sue a Negligent Driver that Violates the Move Over Law in Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, drivers on the road owe a duty of care to one another than includes adhering to traffic laws. Because the Move Over Law is an essential piece of traffic safety legislation in Pennsylvania, anyone who violates it and causes an accident might be considered negligent and responsible for a victim’s damages.
All drivers in Pennsylvania should be aware of the Move Over Law. Not only is following it a requirement, but it is common sense to move away from or slow down when approaching an emergency response area. Speeding through an area where first responders are treating injured victims or police officers are administering a traffic stop can be dangerous. It might result in an accident, especially if other drivers on the road follow the rules of the Move Over Law and attempt to merge safely or slow down.
If you are struck by a negligent driver and were injured because they violated the Move Over Law in Pennsylvania, you can seek damages via a lawsuit. Our Philadelphia car accident attorneys can show that a negligent driver was not following the Move Over Law when they hit you by proving that an emergency response area or disabled vehicle was nearby and that an at-fault party did not slow down or merge safely. This can be achieved through the use of witness statements and security camera footage, which may clearly show that a driver acted negligently not in accordance with Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law.
File Your Car Accident Claim in Pennsylvania Today
Set up a free case evaluation with our Media car accident attorneys by calling The Reiff Law Firm today at (215) 709-6940.