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New 'Move Over' Law in California?

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Forwarded email warns drivers of a new 'move over' law which took effect in California as of January 1, 2010.

Description: Email rumor
Circulating since: Jan. 2010
Status: Partly true


Email example contributed by Jo Ann H., Jan. 23, 2010:

Fw: New CA LAW for 2010

In California , the "Move-over" law became effective on January 1, 2010.

http://www.moveoveramerica.com/

The cost of the ticket is $754, with 3 points on your license and a mandatory court appearance !

Important Law to Share:

I wanted to let my friends know about the CA move over law. My son got a ticket on Pleasant Hill coming back from Wal-Mart. A police car (turned out it was 2 police cars) was on the side of the road giving a ticket to someone else. My son slowed down to pass but did not move into the other lane. The second police car immediately pulled him over and gave him a ticket. My son and I had never heard of the law. It is a fairly new law that states if any emergency vehicle is on the side of the road, if you are able, you are to move into the far lane.

The cost of the ticket was $754, with 3 points on your license and a mandatory court appearance.

Please let everyone you know that drives about this new law.

It is true (see details at the following web address). It states that except two states, all the other US states (even Canada ) enacted similar kind of law.

http://www.snopes.com/politics/traffic/moveover.asp



Analysis: It's true that California, like most states, has a "move over" law requiring drivers to move over or slow down when they see emergency responder vehicles on the side of the road, but the statute isn't new. It went into effect in 2007. A revision of the statute effective January 1, 2010 simply adds an additional category to the list of covered responders (Caltrans vehicles with flashing amber warning lights) and makes the law permanent.

A California Department of Transportation publication summarizes the amended statute as follows:

The new law, introduced as Senate Bill 240 by Senator Roderick Wright, District 25 (Inglewood), takes effect on January 1, 2010. At that time, motorists will have to slow down and, if safe, move over to a lane not immediately adjacent to the stationary vehicle. The law does not apply when the vehicle with flashing warning lights is not adjacent to the freeway or is separated from the freeway by a protective physical barrier. Current law requires motorists to only yield to law enforcement, emergency responders or tow truck operators who are working on the roadside.

Contrary to what is claimed in the above email, the penalty for failure to comply isn't $754. California law specifies a fine of not more than $50 per violation. Even if additional local penalties are applied the total fine isn't likely to reach $754 for a single offense.


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Sources and further reading:

Slow Down, Move Over - It's the Law
Inside Seven, Calif. Dept. of Transportation, January 2010

Slow Down, Move Over Laws Take Effect
KXTV News, 2 January 2010

New California Laws Impact Drivers
Los Altos Town Crier, 5 January 2010


Last updated 01/30/10

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