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One in Four Drivers Unaware of ‘Move Over’ Law

A police officer stands next to a car he pulled over for speeding, reaching for the driver's ID. The focus is on the police car in the foreground with lights on. The policeman is out of focus in the background and unrecognizable.

If you’re driving and see a first responder helping another driver, you must move over and change lanes, according to the “Move Over” law in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts law has been in effect since 2009, and every state and the District of Columbia have adopted a Move Over law. But unfortunately, 23 percent of drivers surveyed in a AAA study didn’t know anything about the law.

What is the Move Over law?

The law is designed to protect first responders who face the risk of getting struck by a vehicle while helping a motorist. Too often, police officers or other workers on the road get severely injured or killed by impaired or distracted drivers who didn’t move to another lane. It’s not only the officer or worker at risk. A careless driver who strikes a disabled vehicle or a first responder’s vehicle might cause a multi-car accident. In Massachusetts, drivers who ignore the law can face a fine of up to $100.

Common causes of car accidents

It’s every driver's duty to stay alert and focused on the road. When approaching a stationary car at the side of the road, use directional signals to change lanes. Drive courteously. Allow other motorists to move safely into your lane so they can abide by the Move Over law.

Crashes involving disabled cars or vehicles pulled over at the side of the road for any reason are often a result of a negligent driver’s actions.

The following are some common factors in crashes:

Impaired driving

A driver may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which slows reaction time and severely impacts the driver's ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.


Some drivers go too fast for the road conditions or ignore posted speed limits. Speeding drivers might not have enough time to change lanes when approaching a car that is pulled over.

Distracted driving

Too often, drivers are looking at smartphones or using other electronic devices in their cars. Per Massachusetts' Safe Driving Law, texting and driving is illegal. That means reading, sending, or typing electronic messages to or from handheld devices while driving is banned. While distractions come in many forms, texting and driving is considered the most dangerous.

Talk to a car accident attorney if you've been injured

Unfortunately, preventable accidents continue to happen because reckless drivers fail to follow the law. CBS Boston reports that a North Attleboro police officer was struck and injured early in October 2021, and a trooper was injured in Weston.

If you’re in an accident involving a negligent or careless driver, you may face serious injuries. Medical bills can pile up. You may be unable to work. The impact of the accident can touch many parts of your life.

The insurance company may give you the run-around. They may offer a lowball settlement, or even blame you for the crash and deny your claim. Don’t let them control the situation. You can take an aggressive stance with an experienced car accident attorney at your side.

Contact the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone today for a free consultation. We serve crash victims who have been injured or lost loved ones due to negligence. We put experience and resources to work for the injured, and we know how to get results. Tell them you mean business!

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If you were injured or a loved one was injured or killed in an accident in Boston, Worcester, Springfield or Holyoke, a personal injury lawyer can fight to help you obtain compensation you deserve. At the Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone, serving Massachusetts, our personal injury attorneys have an impressive record of trial verdicts and settlements.

Law Offices of Mark E. Salomone