(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) – Move over, California, or you might get pulled over for a driving infraction you’ve never even heard of. No one likes a speed trap, and some drivers feel California’s new “move over” law is another way for law enforcers to pick on the motoring public.
It’s a new law many Californians haven’t heard about. If you are driving down the freeway, and you see emergency lights on the side of the road, you must move over and pass, leaving an extra lane of clearance between you and the incident.
California Highway Patrol Officer Art Athans says the “Move Over” law includes all emergency vehicles on the side of the freeway with their lights on.
“Whether it’s an ambulance, fire truck, police car, tow truck or Cal Trans, it’s going to apply,” Officer Athans said.
If drivers are unable to change lanes, the law states they need to slow down to a reasonable speed before passing.
“What I’m concerned about is how is an average citizen going to defend themselves on a judgment call situation… you didn’t slow down enough, you didn’t slow down and go to the right or left quickly enough,” lawyer Mitch Mehdy said.
Mehdy, also known as “Mr. Ticket,” feels the “Move Over” law is just another “gotcha” ticket.
“So now you are in a situation where if you don’t react quick enough and in exactly the right way, hey, we can charge you and put points on your record,” Mehdy said.
Countless Californians are receiving an email on the “Move Over” law that states a citation will cost drivers $754 and add three points to their driving record, but here are the facts: a citation puts one point on your driving record and levies a fine with court costs of about $150.
According to the “Move Over America” web site, almost every state in the country has a “Move Over” law. So why haven’t more Californians heard about it?
“I agree that it really has not been, for a lack of a better word, advertised,” sheriff’s Lt. Mike Cea said.
Cea says the state needs to do a better job promoting the new statute, but agrees with the law’s intent.
“The state is trying to save lives of the patrolmen and the poor Cal Trans workers,” he said.
“Mr. Ticket” disagrees, and feels the state’s main goal is trying to squeeze money out of Californians.
“There is a potential here to create more of a hazard than to prevent the hazard itself, but remember they are making money on this deal,” he said.
“We are not trying to trick anybody on this. We are just trying to keep ourselves safe,” Athans said. “Nothing in the vehicle code and enforcement of traffic laws is a gotcha make-money scheme. We are not trying to make money on this stuff.”