By Nicole Cook
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As of October 1st, drivers in Maryland must change lanes or slow down when approaching work trucks that are parked on or along the highway, or face a possible fine. Keep reading to learn more about what you and your drivers need to know about the new law.
Previously, motorists only had to change lanes or slow down when they passed emergency vehicles, law enforcement vehicles or tow trucks parked along the road. Now, under the expanded law, drivers should attempt to move over to a far lane if they see a service vehicle parked on the shoulder. Service vehicles include transportation, service and utility vehicles, and waste and recycling trucks that have their lights flashing. If you cannot safely move over, the law requires you to slow down to a safer speed.
Violating Maryland’s “move over” law is considered a misdemeanor. Drivers are subject to at least a $110 fine if caught and a mandatory assessment of one point against the driver’s license. If the violation contributes to a crash, the fine is $150 and three points are assessed against the driver’s license. Drivers who violate the law and cause death or serious injury will be fined $750.
The new law is meant to help protect people who work along Maryland’s roadways, like Marcus Colbert, the Laurel sanitation worker who was killed on the job last year when an SUV crashed into his garbage truck.At least 3 Maryland State Highway Administration employees have died in recent years while working on highways, and according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, more than 2,000 people were killed in work-related transportation incidents in the U.S. in 2016.In the U.S., transportation incidents are the leading cause of death at work.