Governor M. Jodi Rell today announced she has signed into law a bill that establishes a “move over” law in Connecticut requiring motorists to immediately slow down when approaching a stopped emergency vehicle and – whenever possible – to move over one lane to put extra space between the motorist and the emergency vehicle.
“This is a common-sense law that offers an extra measure of security to the men and women who risk their lives to protect us,” Governor Rell said. “Connecticut has lost 14 state troopers to accidents in which they were struck and killed by a passing motorist – and many more have been injured. Most of these accidents were caused by careless or inattentive drivers who failed to give emergency personnel the room they need to work.
“More than 40 other states already have some form of a ‘move over’ law on the books,” the Governor said. “We owe our first responders and other safety workers the margin of safety this law will provide.”
Public Safety Commissioner John A. Danaher III said, “The loss of life on our highways is always tragic, but we now have a law that will enhance the safety of first responders and all other who perform tasks on our highways. All motorists will now be mandated to slow down and move over a lane to allow responders to safely direct traffic and assist those in need of help.”
Under the law, motorists approaching an emergency vehicle that is stopped in the travel lane, breakdown lane or shoulder of a highway, they must immediately slow down to a reasonable speed below the posted limit. If they are traveling in the lane adjacent to the emergency vehicle they must move over one lane unless it would be unreasonable or unsafe to do so.
For the law to apply, the emergency vehicle must have its flashing lights activated. For the purposes of the law, emergency vehicles are defined as ambulances or other emergency medical services vehicles; fire trucks and vehicles operated by firefighters responding to emergencies; police vehicles; maintenance vehicles; and licensed wreckers.
A violation of the law is considered an infraction unless the violation results in the injury or death of an emergency vehicle operator, which case the fines are $2,500 and $10,000, respectively.