Alabama has laws and rules that are in place to make the roads safer for everyone. Some are obvious and understood. These include stopping at red lights and stop signs, yielding, adhering to the speed limit, avoiding distractions, and not driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Others are less obvious and frequently ignored or forgotten. Specifically, that involves the Alabama Move Over Law.
Drivers are required to adhere to this law when the circumstances dictate it. However, many do not and that places the driver, passengers, others on the road and people whom the law was designed to protect in jeopardy.
This issue has come to the forefront recently and those who might have been injured or are concerned about an accident and its ramifications should be cognizant of the law. After a collision has occurred, this type of violation could be an important piece of evidence when deciding how to proceed.
Statistics and incidents show how Alabama drivers are flouting Move Over Law
Alabama implemented its Move Over Law more than a decade ago. Unfortunately, the statistics about its effectiveness have been troubling. The Alabama Department of Transportation reports that work zones – one area where drivers are obligated to reduce speed – has seen a spike in accidents instead of the desired reduction.
For 2020, 19 people lost their lives in a work zone crash. The year the law went into effect, there were nine such fatalities. Because these areas have law enforcement vehicles, roadside workers, tow truck drivers and first responders, those who are trying to help others or make repairs and improvements are the most at risk.
In 2021, there were nearly 5,000 firefighter injuries from road accidents across the United States. Had drivers simply followed the various laws to move over, many could have been avoided. Surveys have indicated that drivers are simply unaware of the law itself. In one survey, 23% said they did not know about it. That survey showed that 42% knew about the law but deemed it unnecessary, suggesting that they simply do not care.
First responders are lamenting the public’s seeming indifference to their safety. One recent incident involved a law enforcement officer who needed hospitalization after being hit by a speeding vehicle during a traffic stop.
The law says that when emergency vehicles, construction vehicles and garbage trucks are on the road performing their work with their signals activated or warning signs present, other drivers must change lanes to be as far from those vehicles as legally possible.
When they cannot move over, they must reduce their speed to 15 miles less than the posted speed limit. For two-lane roads, they must reduce their speed by 15 mph fewer than the speed limit when it is 25 mph or higher or go 10 mph when the limit is 20 mph or fewer. There are fines for violations ranging from $100 for a first offense to $150 for a second offense and $200 for a third offense.
Those injured in a Move Over Law violation should take stock of their rights
The auto accident itself is a big enough worry, but when calculating the financial and personal costs, it can be overwhelming. Even those with medical coverage may face unexpected expenses they cannot hope to pay.
Injuries can prevent them from working. Even with unemployment benefits, their finances can be severely damaged with long-term fears as to what will happen in the future.
Before simply accepting a settlement or thinking they will do their best and hope everything works out based on various forms of coverage, it is imperative to be aware of the options. Discussing the situation with those who are experienced in the law, care about their clients, have been longtime residents of Alabama, cater to personal needs, are flexible and will do whatever they can to help is vital from the start.
As soon as the accident has happened, it is wise to be protected by those who understand the ins and outs of these cases and know the law.