Motorists moving over for law enforcement, emergency, maintenance and other types of vehicles parked on the side of Wyoming highways and interstates are not only abiding by the law but are also keeping their fellow citizens safe.
On Nov. 8, the Wyoming Highway Patrol and state patrols from Colorado, Nebraska, South Dakota and Montana, as well as multiple emergency and public service entities, will educate and promote public safety by encouraging motorists to move over. Law enforcement is planning to get the word out through social media, news release and other outlets.
Wyoming lawmakers recently passed a new Move Over law that not only requires motorists to move over for parked emergency responders like the WHP but also for authorized municipal, public utility, highway construction or highway maintenance vehicles. The new law took effect on July 1.
Although each of the participating states have different Move Over laws, the message is the same. Motorists need to move over to help keep people safe.
“No matter where you’re traveling, whether it’s on I-80 in the panhandle of Nebraska, the I-80 corridor in Wyoming or I-25 from Colorado to Wyoming, motorists need to move over,” said WHP Lt. Tim Romig, of Division A in Cheyenne. “Although each state may have differing Move Over laws, the message is similar. Move over for law enforcement and others who are working on the side of the road. By doing so, you can help save a life and make sure the person who not only works in your community but also lives in your community makes it home safe at the end of the day.”
The new Move Over law in Wyoming has requirements for motorists to follow when traveling on an interstate and two-lane highway.
When a motorist encounters any of the vehicles parked on the side of the road on a road with two or more lanes in the same direction, they must move to the farthest lane away from the stopped vehicle.
On a two-lane road where speeds are 45 mph or greater, motorists must slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit. Motorists can be fined $235 for failure to move over. WYDOT is currently making signs about the new requirements as a way to help educate the public.
“No matter where they are, what state they’re driving in, motorists will learn about the importance of moving over,” Romig said. “If all of us work together we can protect those who work alongside the roadways – highway maintenance workers, firefights, EMS personnel, tow operators, utility workers, police officers, and road construction workers.”
Although the law has always covered emergency responders, crashes have still occurred.
Since 2016, vehicles have hit about 12 Patrol cars stopped at the roadside. During that same time frame, there have been 18 snow plows hit by motorists. Besides moving over, motorists should also put away any distractions and pay attention to the road and their surroundings to ensure everyone is safe.