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Colorado's revised 'Move Over Law' goes into effect Monday, more protections for drivers

Posted at 10:59 PM, Aug 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-02 00:59:05-04

COLORADO — The state's new "Move Over Law" goes into effect Monday, Aug. 7, and is revised to provide protections to all drivers on Colorado roads.

The new law, signed by Gov. Polis in March, requires drivers to move over a lane for any stationary vehicle on a highway with its hazards flashing. The original law only required drivers to move over for emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and public utility service vehicles.

Colorado State Patrol says if drivers cannot move over, they must slow down to at least 20 miles per hour below the speed limit. The penalty for failing to do so is a Class 2 misdemeanor traffic offense, which comes with a possible $150 fine and a 3-point license violation.

"This is something that the Colorado State Patrol will take enforcement of very, very seriously," said Col. Matthew Packard, Colorado State Patrol Chief. "The risk out there is so much bigger than just our law enforcement and first responder community, it could be your neighbor."

The law goes into effect shortly after two drivers hit two different Colorado State Patrol cars parked along I-270 in Adams County, seriously injuring a trooper. A Colorado Springs Police patrol car was also hit the same night in a separate crash while parked along I-25 near West Fillmore Street. CSPD said the officer in the patrol car had minor injuries.

Over the past five years, Colorado State Patrol (CSP) has given out 8,594 citations and warnings to drivers failing to yield to emergency vehicles, tow trucks, and other public service vehicles. CSP said 497 of those citations and warnings were given to drivers this year on Colorado roads. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) said so far this year seven CDOT safety patrol trucks have been hit by passing drivers.

"The law can make a huge difference, but it can only be effective if motorists are aware of the laws, if drivers obey them, and if law enforcement officers enforce the laws," said Gina Espinosa, the Regional Administrator at National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Colorado is joining nineteen other states that provide protections to all disabled vehicles. All 50 states have a Move Over Law to protect emergency responders. South Carolina was the first state to pass a Move Over Law in 1996 after a paramedic was struck and killed by a passing car, according to the National Sheriffs' Association. Hawaii was the last to enact the law in 2012.

A 2019 poll by the National Safety Commission showed 67% of drivers don't know about Move Over Laws.

Gov. Polis has declared Aug. 7 as “Slow Down, Move Over Day” in the State of Colorado.
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