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Move Over for Stopped Emergency Vehicles: In Connecticut, It’s the Law

Connecticut’s move over law is intended to keep those whose jobs put them in a dangerous situation (working on the side of a highway) safe. An inattentive driver traveling at or above the posted speed limit puts people working on the side of the road at risk of serious injuries, including broken bones, head and neck injuries, and brain injuries, or even death should a car accident occur.

Emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road can present a hazard to those still moving with the flow of traffic. Connecticut’s move over law is intended to protect not only the stopped emergency workers, but also creates a buffer zone to protect moving traffic from a devastating Connecticut motor vehicle accident.

According to Connecticut’s move over law, motorists that approach an emergency vehicle on parked or otherwise stationary on the side of the road must:

  • “Immediately slow down to a reasonable speed below the posted speed limit”; and
  • If traveling in the lane abutting the stationary emergency vehicle, move over one lane, unless switching lanes would be “unreasonable or unsafe”

The law defines “emergency vehicles” as:

  • Ambulances or other emergency medical service vehicle
  • Fire trucks or other vehicle driven by a member of the fire department
  • Police cruisers or other police department vehicle
  • Maintenance vehicles operated by the state, a municipality or service company
  • Wreckers

However, for the law to apply, the emergency vehicle must have its warning lights turned on. To put it another way, the emergency vehicle must be performing a task and not just be stopped on the side of the road.

A majority of states in the United States have some sort of move-over law, similar to that in Connecticut. If a driver fails to move over in Connecticut, causing injury to or the death of an emergency worker can result in fines up to $10,000. As with any fatal Connecticut car accident, there may be additional costs for failing to follow the law in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit or, if the crash caused injury, a personal injury lawsuit.

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