Courtesy of Steve McCausland, Maine Public Safety
State Police plan to increase enforcement this week on the Maine Turnpike of the state's "move over" law, which requires motorists to give emergency vehicles in the breakdown lane some room. The law is aimed at giving police officers, firefighters, emergency workers and wrecker operators in the breakdown lane, some space from passing motorists.
The Chief of the State Police, Colonel Patrick Fleming, said, "The law is designed to give emergency workers in the breakdown lane and the motorists that are with them, an extra degree of safety from the passing public. Since 2003, sixteen State Police cruisers have been struck from behind by motorists while the troopers were parked alongside the road."
Fleming said, "It makes no difference whether the emergency lights are blue, red or amber, passing motorists need to give those workers along the side of the road room to safely work."
The so-called "move over" law has been revised by the Legislature in recent years and requires motorists to either move into the passing lane, if possible, or slow down when traveling by vehicles with their emergency lights on.
Fleming said the increased enforcement, which begins Friday (7/30) along the turnpike in York, will consist of a team of troopers to monitor passing traffic while one of them is stopped in the breakdown lane with a motorist. Other enforcement efforts in the coming weeks will be at different locations along the turnpike. Troopers will hand out an informational card and motorists will be reminded of the law from electronic message boards along the turnpike.