PAW PAW, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan State Police want you to “Move Over” for stopped emergency vehicles.
Under Michigan’s Emergency Vehicle Caution law, more commonly referred to as the “Move Over” law, drivers are supposed to slow down by at least 10 mph and move over to give extra space to stopped emergency vehicles with their lights on.
MSP says plenty of drivers ignore those rules, flying past stopped cruisers far too quickly and far too close.
“We see it all the time. And, in all honesty, I think most troopers that patrol the freeways are more worried about getting hit on the freeway than they are about being shot in the line of duty,” Sgt. Benjamin Mahaffie, who works at MSP’s Paw Paw Post, told News 8.
Mahaffie shared dashcam video from his cruiser from January in which an SUV did not move over for his cruiser and a tow truck.
On April 10, another trooper’s dashcam showed that the driver he pulled over stopped on the left side of the road rather than the right (which is another problem troopers say they face) and several vehicles then passed without moving over. In it, you can see the trooper step back quickly as vehicles speed past.
“I think people don’t understand and they are not paying attention,” Mahaffie said. “People don’t recognize the blue and red lights on a big blue police car and they are not paying attention to the road.”
On April 8, a semi-truck slammed into the back of a stopped cruiser on I-94 near Lawrence. The trooper was injured and as of Friday was still out of work as he recovers, but he is expected to be OK. The truck driver was charged with reckless driving.
Citing the April 8 crash and the anniversary of the death of Trooper Rick Johnson, who was hit by a vehicle and killed on I-94 on May 6, 2000, MSP is reminding people to drive safely.
“Slow down and move over. The Michigan law requires you to slow down 10 miles an hour below the posted speed limit and if there’s a lane available move over and then proceed with due care and caution,” Mahaffie said. “It’s not just police officers. It’s ambulance, fire personnel, tow truck drivers. They all fall under this law for moving over.”
MSP is running a Move Over enforcement campaign over the summer, working to crack down on violators who don’t give emergency vehicles space.
“With our enforcement, we will be increasing efforts to put another traffic car with the traffic stop to assist, that way when a violation occurs, we’ll have the ability to enforce that,” Mahaffie said.
Violators face a fine of $400. If you break the law and hit and injure an emergency worker, you could serve two years in prison. If you kill someone, you could spend 15 years in prison.