Responsible drivers move out of the way when a police car, fire truck, ambulance or other vehicle carrying first responders has its lights and sirens on or when they see these vehicles along the side of the road attending to a crash or other emergency. They also slow down and take extra care when entering a highway work zone. Unfortunately, everyone is not so conscientious.
That’s why this past November, Oklahoma made some changes to its “Move Over” law. The law already required drivers to decrease their speed and, if possible, change lanes, when they encounter any emergency or maintenance vehicle with its lights flashing on the side of the road or any vehicle with its hazard light on.
Now the fines for not doing so are even higher. A first citation is $1,000. A second one is $2,500.
A mandatory part of driver’s ed
At the same time as the increased fines took effect, Oklahoma became the first state in the U.S. to require teens who are learning to drive to take a special online class called Oklahoma Work Zone Safe and First Responder Safety in order to obtain their intermediate driver’s license.
This course should help young drivers learn the importance of providing plenty of space for first responders and maintenance workers who have to be on or near a busy highway. According to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation, over 100 drivers still in their teens have been killed in work zone crashes in the past five years on state highways and turnpikes.
Careless drivers who don’t take appropriate precautions in these situations endanger the safety of other drivers as well as those in emergency or maintenance and construction jobs. By slowing down and/or moving over before they have no choice, drivers are less likely to make sudden, unsafe moves that can cause multiple or multi-vehicle crashes.
If you or a loved one has been injured or worse by one of these drivers, you can and should hold them accountable so that you get the maximum possible compensation to deal with medical bills and other expenses and damages. Getting legal guidance as soon as possible can help you do this.