Motorists who fail to move over one lane or slow down as they approach a stopped emergency vehicle will see an increased chance of receiving a ticket next week as state troopers in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee will join forces for stepped up enforcement.
Col. Bill Hitchens, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety, said troopers in Georgia will participate with four of the neighboring state highway patrols to raise driver awareness of the dangers faced by law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and tow truck drivers as they work along busy highways and interstates each day.
Col. Hitchens said Georgia has had a “Move Over” law since 2003 that requires drivers to move over one lane away from a stationary authorized emergency vehicle, towing or recovery vehicle, or highway maintenance vehicle that is displaying flashing blue, red, amber, white, or yellow lights.
“If a lane change is not possible, drivers should reduce the speed of their vehicle to below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop,” he said.
In Georgia, the fine for a Move Over violation is set by law at no more than $500.
“The message for drivers is to be alert while driving and give emergency services workers plenty of room to work,” Col. Hitchens said.
The concentrated effort ends Friday.
According to a recent report by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, law enforcement fatalities have surged nearly 43 percent during the first six months of this year and, if this trend continues, 2010 could end up being one of the deadliest years for U.S. law enforcement in two decades.
Across the country, nine law enforcement officers have been killed in crashes where they were struck outside their vehicles. This compares with five fatalities at the same time last year.