Georgia Move Over Law

Georgia Move Over Law

The move over law in Georgia details that drivers must move-over for emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the highway. The reasoning behind this law is to protect officers and traffic violations from passing cars. Georgia's move over law is also known as the “Spencer Pass Law.”

All across the nation, there has been an increasing number of police, emergency technicians, and Department of Transportation (DOT) workers killed during routine traffic stops, crash responses, and highway construction projects. The move over law was passed in attempts to reduce these numbers. More than thirty states have also adopted these types of laws with fines as high as one thousand dollars.

Georgia's Move Over Law is Outlined in O.C.G.A. § 40-6-16

(b) The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, red, or blue lights shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of this subsection would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

(c) The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary towing or recovery vehicle, a stationary highway maintenance vehicle, or a stationary utility service vehicle that is utilizing traffic cones or displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, or red lights shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:

(1) Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the towing, recovery, highway maintenance, or utility service vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

(2) If a lane change under paragraph (1) of this subsection would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

What is Required of Drivers?

The Move Over law requires drivers to move-over one lane when possible if there is an emergency vehicle with flashing lights parked on the shoulder of the highway. If the traffic is too heavy or you are unable to move over, the law requires drivers to slow down below the speed limits and to be prepared to stop.

The Move Over Law applies to numerous types of stopped vehicles:

  • Patrol vehicles
  • Tow trucks
  • Fire trucks
  • Ambulances
  • Maintenance vehicles 
  • Recovery vehicles
  • Utility vehicles
  • Other law enforcement vehicles

Penalty for Violating Georgia's Move Over Law

While this may seem like a minor violation, a move-over conviction can come with significant consequences.

A person convicted of violating O.C.G.A. § 40-6-16 (b) will be punished by a fine of  five hundred dollars.

A person who violates subsection (c) of § 40-6-16 will be punished by a fine of $200.00

A conviction for this traffic violation will also add 3 points to your driving record. For people over 21 years of age, an accumulation of 15 points or more in a 24 month period will result in a license suspension.

In addition to the fine, if an accident, injury, or death resulting from failing to move over, the driver could face criminal and civil liability for the damages. The driver may have to pay for vehicle damage, a victim's medical bills, pain and suffering, or restitution.

Furthermore, violating the move law can be the basis for an officer to stop your vehicle and investigate other offenses. This could lead to a DUI arrest or an investigation of other crimes. If you have been charged with a DUI with violation of the move over law as the underlying offense, call us now. 

Defenses to Georgia's Move Over Law

A potential defense if charged with failing to move over in Georgia would be that it was not reasonably possible for the driver to move into another due. This could be due to traffic conditions or for safety reasons. However, even if you were unable to move over, you must demonstrate that you slowed down to a reasonable and proper speed. Because this is a subjective standard, you need a Georgia Move Over Attorney today.

It is also important to note that this rule only applies when the stopped vehicle is displaying flashing red, blue, amber, white, or yellow lights. If the emergency lights were not flashing and you received a ticket, we will argue for a dismissal of the charge.

Contact Us Today

If you have been charged with violating Georgia's move over law, we can help. Our attorneys have over 50 combined years of experience defending DUI charges as well as traffic violations. Fighting traffic tickets with our help will lead to a better result for your case. Our Move Over Lawyers in Georgia will handle your situation with the expertise you need to prevent points being added to your record. Call now for a free case consultation.

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