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Arizona Move Over Law

Posted On 10/21/19

Most states have some version of the Move Over law. Move Over laws instruct motorists to switch lanes or slow down when passing stopped emergency and utility vehicles. They also instruct drivers to pull to the side and stop for oncoming emergency vehicles. Move Over laws aim to reduce the number of car accident injuries and deaths among emergency workers. They also help facilitate emergency response by forcing motorists to stop for ambulances and firetrucks. Breaking Arizona’s Move Over law could result in serious penalties, especially if the driver causes a car accident.

What Does the Move Over Law State?

Arizona’s Move Over law, ARS 28-775, says a driver must yield the right-of-way and immediately pull as far to the right-hand side of the road as possible when an authorized emergency vehicle flashing its lights and giving an audible siren signal approaches. This law applies mainly to ambulances, firetrucks and police vehicles. A driver must remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has safely passed. No driver may follow an official vehicle that is responding to an emergency closer than 500 feet or drive to the vehicle’s destination.

The Move Over law also includes instructions for what to do when passing a stopped emergency or utility vehicle. In these situations, a driver approaching a stationary vehicle displaying flashing lights must do one of two things. First, the driver must yield the right-of-way to the stationary vehicle by changing into a lane other than one adjacent to the stopped vehicle. This rule only applies on highways with at least two lanes proceeding in the same direction.

If it is not possible to change lanes with due caution and in regard to traffic conditions, the driver must instead slow down for the stationary emergency vehicle. The driver must proceed past the stopped vehicle with caution at a reduced speed. The speed the driver uses must be safe and prudent for the conditions of the roadway and the proximity of the stationary vehicle to the road. These Move Over laws will only apply when the stationary vehicle is giving a signal with alternately flashing lights or warning lights.

What Are the Penalties for Breaking the Move Over Law?

Failing to move over for an oncoming or stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights is against the law in Arizona.

Traffic Ticket or Fine

If a police officer sees a driver break the Move Over law, the driver could face a traffic ticket and fine. Arizona takes Move Over law violations very seriously. Since breaking the law could potentially endanger the lives of servicemen and women, the penalties for doing so are severe. A fine for an offense can be as much as $650 in Arizona.

Criminal Charges

If a driver collides with a stationary emergency vehicle or worker because he or she failed to move over or slow down, that driver could face criminal charges. Causing an injury or death while breaking Arizona’s Move Over law could constitute a crime such as reckless driving or even vehicular manslaughter. A criminal conviction could lead to hefty fines and/or jail time for an offender.

Liability for a Subsequent Collision

The Move Over law in Arizona does not relieve any driver – including emergency vehicle drivers – from the duty to drive with reasonable care. If someone causes an accident while moving over, he or she could still be liable for damages. Drivers must decide whether it is safe to move over depending on traffic conditions. Moving over when it is not safe to do so is negligence that could lead to responsibility for an accident.

If an emergency vehicle driver negligently causes an accident, the government may be vicariously liable. Flashing emergency lights do not give a driver the right to disregard common roadway rules or safety best practices. Victims of car accidents involving ambulances or firetrucks may bring claims against the city in pursuit of compensation.