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Connecticut Move Over Law

Posted on November 30, 2021 in

Connecticut is one of many states that has passed some version of a Move Over Law in an effort to prevent emergency personnel who are working on the side of the road from being hit by motor vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average of over 20,000 workers are injured in roadside work zones each year. Knowing your responsibilities as a driver under Connecticut’s Move Over Law can help you avoid getting a ticket and could even save a life.

What Is the Move Over Law?

The Move Over Law (Connecticut General Statutes Section 14-283b) requires drivers to slow down and/or switch into a lane that is further from the side of the road where an emergency vehicle is stopped. The purpose of Connecticut’s Move Over Law is to try to prevent roadside motor vehicle accidents where a driver strikes a stopped emergency vehicle or worker who is responding to a call. In Connecticut, if you see an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road with its lights on, you legally must:

  • Immediately apply your brakes to slow down to a reasonable speed. This is a speed that is below the posted speed limit and that is appropriate based on surrounding traffic and the circumstances.
  • If you are traveling in the lane closest to the stopped vehicle, move over one lane to give the vehicle and driver more space. Make the lane change carefully and in accordance with traffic laws.
  • If it is impossible or unsafe to move over one lane, reducing your speed is enough. Pay attention to the road and prepare to hit your brakes if anything changes, such as a worker stepping out into the road.

Failing to move over for an emergency vehicle when the law requires you to do so could result in legal consequences. You can receive a traffic ticket for an infraction if a police officer sees you fail to slow down or move over. If your failure to move over results in an accident that causes an injury or death to an emergency worker, you could face a fine of up to $10,000, plus additional costs from a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. You may even face criminal charges, depending on the situation.

What Is an Emergency Vehicle?

While it can be good to get into the habit of slowing down and moving over a lane for any vehicle that is stopped on the side of the road, state law only legally requires you to do so for emergency vehicles with their lights flashing. The definition of an emergency vehicle in Connecticut includes:

  • An ambulance
  • A vehicle operated by emergency medical service personnel
  • A fire truck or another vehicle used by the fire department
  • A state or local police vehicle
  • A Department of Corrections vehicle

In general, Connecticut’s Move Over Law only applies to emergency vehicles that are responding to emergency calls. If the vehicle is empty, abandoned or just stopped on the side of the road, it may not be necessary to move over. Note that you must also immediately come to a stop and pull to the right-hand side of the road if you are approached by an emergency vehicle that is using its lights or siren. You must remain stopped until the emergency vehicle has passed.

What to Do After a Car Crash

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured in a car accident in Connecticut, including a case where a driver failed to move over and struck you as an emergency worker, contact a car accident lawyer at Connolly Brennan Ralabate, PC to request a free consultation. We can guide you and your family through the legal process to help you pursue justice and fair financial compensation.