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Changes to Existing Virginia (VA) Traffic Laws Aimed at Increasing Safety

The recent death of a tow-truck driver who was stopped on the side of a Virginia highway has caused the “move over” law in Virginia to be modified to include not only law enforcement personnel and other emergency workers, but also tow-truck drivers. 

As you are probably aware, the “move over” law requires motorists to move over, if they can do so safely, when they see an emergency vehicle of any kind, with its emergency lights activated, either on the shoulder of the road or in a traffic lane. This law is in addition to those that already exist which require motorists to yield the right of way to emergency vehicles that are traveling with lights and sirens operating. Unfortunately, some people either do not do that, or even drive unsafely when they see an emergency vehicle. Click here for an article concerning a State Trooper injured while responding to an emergency.

Both the existing law for yielding to emergency vehicles and the “move over” law are intended to provide emergency workers, and now in Virginia, tow-truck drivers with additional safety while they are performing their duties. In addition, the Virginia seat belt law has been modified. Beginning July 1, passengers who are under the age of 18 will be required to wear seat belts, even if they are riding in the back seat of a vehicle. Virginia law enforcement officials can stop a vehicle with under-18 passengers if they suspect the seat belt law is not being complied with.

Both of these laws are designed to increase safety for everyone traveling on Virginia highways, and those who respond to emergencies on these roads. It is hoped that the number of wrecks which result in personal injury will decrease. If an accident should occur, however, there are steps which can be taken by those involved to receive legal help from an attorney. Learn more about those steps by reading our free consumer guide on what to do when injured in a Virginia car accident.

J.M. 

Richard N. Shapiro
Personal Injury & Wrongful Death Lawyer Serving Va Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake & all of Virginia
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