Everyone must do his or her part to help prevent automobile accidents in Alabama. Drivers and lawmakers alike must work together to make the roadways safer. Like most states, Alabama has a Move Over Law that aims to improve the safety of workers such as emergency first responders and law enforcement officers. The Move Over Law is lawmakers’ way of trying to prevent serious car accidents in Alabama. As a driver, it is your responsibility to obey this law – or suffer the consequences.

What Is Alabama’s Move Over Law?

The Alabama Move Over Act, or Alabama Code 32-5A-58.2, gives directions for the mandatory moving over of passenger vehicles for emergency or law enforcement vehicles. While drivers must also pull over for oncoming emergency vehicles, the Move Over Law specifically applies to emergency or law enforcement vehicles parked alongside the road. It states that when one of these vehicles is parked on the side of the road with any of its visual signals engaged, passing drivers must take certain preventive actions.

  • Vacate the lane closest to the parked vehicle as soon as it is safely possible, if driving on a highway with two or more lanes.
  • Slow down to at least 15 miles per hour (mph) lower than the posted speed limit, if it is unsafe to move a lane over.
  • Follow a law enforcement officer or highway patrol’s directions, if one is present at the location of the parked vehicle.
  • Move as far away from the stopped vehicle as possible and slow down to at least 15 mph below the speed limit if on a two-lane road.

The Move Over Act also applies to many other types of vehicles: utility vehicles, garbage trucks, tow trucks and roadside workers with wreckers. Any work-related vehicle parked on the side of the road that is displaying flashing lights, amber rotating lights or other visual signs may require the same respect from other drivers under the Move Over Act as police cars, ambulances or firetrucks. When in doubt about whether you need to slow down or move over, do so to be safe. Obeying the law can protect roadside workers and help you avoid a ticket.

Fines for Not Following the Law

As a driver, you could face a penalty in the form of a traffic citation and fine for breaking Alabama’s Move Over Act. Although the penalty for breaking the state’s Move Over Act was always a fine, as of September 1st, 2019, a new law increased the amount offenders must pay. Previously, the fines were $25, $50 and $100 for a first, second and third violation, respectively. Now, the standard fine is $100 for a first-time violation, $150 for a second violation and $200 for a third or subsequent violation.

Worse consequences than a fine are possible, however, for a driver who breaks the Move Over Law. If you break this law and cause a car accident, you could face criminal charges for offenses such as reckless driving or vehicular manslaughter. A conviction could come with months or years behind bars as well as a hefty fine. You could also face civil liability for any victims’ damages on top of criminal charges. You or your insurance company may have to pay for a victim’s medical expenses and property damage repairs.

Emergency Vehicle Crash Statistics

Alabama’s Move Over Law aims to reduce the high number of accidents involving stopped law enforcement and emergency response vehicles in the state. According to Drive Safe Alabama, traffic accidents are the number one cause of death among law enforcement officers. In the last five years, people have suffered injuries and died in more than 800 roadside accidents. You can do your part to prevent these tragic accidents by obeying the Move Over Law, reducing your speed and always paying attention to the road.