In an effort to improve road safety and prevent accidents involving disabled vehicles, Indiana has implemented a new amendment to its Move Over Law.
Effective July 1st, this legislation mandates that drivers must move over or slow down when approaching any stopped vehicle displaying hazard lights. Prior to this amendment, the law only required such action when approaching emergency vehicles.
The revised Move Over Law aims to protect not only law enforcement officers and first responders, but also individuals dealing with disabled vehicles on the road. Drivers must now exercise caution and reduce speed when encountering any vehicle with flashing hazard lights, regardless of the nature of the incident. If changing lanes safely is not possible, motorists are expected to decrease their speed by at least 10 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.
The consequences for violating the law can be severe. Those who fail to comply may face fines, and their driving licenses could be suspended for up to two years if any damage occurs to an emergency vehicle. This stern approach is meant to ensure compliance and encourage responsible driving practices among motorists in Indiana.
The need for such a law is evident, as numerous accidents involving disabled or stopped vehicles occur daily. Road maintenance vehicles, construction vehicles, police cruisers, tow trucks, and ambulances responding to highway accidents or collisions are particularly vulnerable in such situations. By extending the Move Over Law’s protection to encompass all disabled vehicles with hazard lights, Indiana hopes to reduce the frequency of these accidents and create safer roadways for everyone.
Nationwide statistics show the gravity of stopped-vehicle crashes. According to an IIHS study conducted by Impact Research, between 2016 and 2018, these types of accidents claimed the lives of 566 people and injured an additional 14,371. The study also revealed that over 300 people lose their lives each year while walking alongside a roadway to deal with a stopped or disabled vehicle. Tragically, these accident fatalities have been on the rise, with a 25 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities involving stopped or disabled vehicles since 2014.
Indiana’s proactive approach to implement and expand its Move Over Law sends a clear message about the importance of driver responsibility and safety. It reminds us all that taking simple actions, such as moving over or reducing speed when approaching a disabled vehicle, can make a significant difference in preventing accidents and saving lives. Motorists in Indiana should now be vigilant and ensure they comply with the updated law to help create a safer environment for everyone on the roads. By adhering to the law, drivers can play a crucial role in reducing the number of accidents and protecting those who work tirelessly to keep the roads safe and functional.