On Sunday, September 10th, a Virginia State Police trooper was injured when a driver failed to move over and crashed into the scene of a previous accident on Interstate 95 in the area of Temple Avenue at about 12:30 p.m. The incident occurred on the lefthand shoulder of the northbound lanes.
What happens if a driver fails to move over for an emergency vehicle?
According to reports, a trooper was responding to the scene of an earlier incident when a van driven by a woman from Petersburg ran off the roadway. She collided with the police vehicle, which had its lights activated, shoving it into the back of the vehicle involved in the earlier accident.
The state trooper was transported to Bon Secours Emergency Center in Chester in non-life-threatening condition. The driver of the van sustained minor injuries and was taken to Bon Secours Southside Medical Center in Petersburg. She was also cited for following too closely.
The driver of the vehicle involved in the earlier crash was unharmed by the impact from the trooper’s car.
This accident is still under investigation.
Virginia law says that drivers must move over when nearing a traffic stop, a disabled vehicle, or any type of accident. If a driver is not able to move over, they are required to slow down until they have passed the scene. If you were injured in an accident caused by another driver’s failure to move over, contact the Virginia car accident attorneys at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp to schedule your free consultation today.
Reckless Driving in Virginia
In the Commonwealth, reckless driving is a misdemeanor offense with about 15 different violations that could lead to your arrest. In July 2019, the Virginia legislature passed a law that included failing to move over for an emergency vehicle a reckless driving offense. Some of the most important elements of this law that Virginia drivers should be aware of are:
What Emergency Vehicles Does the Move Over Law Apply To?
Virginia’s Move Over law was enacted to protect emergency responders who are pulled over on the side of the road with their emergency lights activated. Drivers have since been required to move over for:
- Marked and unmarked police vehicles
- Medical response vehicles, such as ambulances
- Rescue vehicles, such as fire engines
- Vehicles related to utility service
What Should Drivers Do?
The law applies to any emergency response vehicles pulled over on the side of a roadway with four or more lanes with their lights on. The roadway must have at least two lanes that accommodate traffic traveling in the same direction as the emergency vehicle. As motorists approach the emergency vehicle, they are expected to show due care and, if feasible, to:
- Yield the right-of-way by changing lanes into one not currently occupied by an emergency vehicle
- If changing lanes is unsafe, drive with caution and maintain a safe speed for current road conditions
What Happens to Drivers Who Violate the Move-Over Law?
Prior to 2019, a first offense for failure to move over for an emergency vehicle was a traffic violation punishable by a fine of up to $250. Now, a failure to move violation is tantamount to reckless driving, a Class 1 misdemeanor. If convicted, potential punishments could include:
- One year of incarceration
- Fines of up to $2,500
- One-year suspension of your driver’s license if the violation causes property damage
- Two-year suspension of your driver’s license if the violation causes death or injury
Talk to a Virginia Car Accident Lawyer
If you were injured in a Virginia car accident that was caused by another driver’s failure to move over, our experienced Virginia Beach car accident lawyers can help. The personal injury law firm of Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp will work diligently to build the most compelling case possible and protect your right to financial compensation. Schedule your free case review by calling (833) 997-1774 or by filling out our online contact form.