AAA Applauds the Expansion of Virginia’s ‘Move Over Law’

Almost 300 pedestrians are killed while getting off, returning to, or working on their vehicles every year. The number of accidental deaths has only increased in the years gone by, which called for serious action from lawmakers to prevent such tragic deaths. The Virginia Senate and House of Delegates have taken note of the gravity of this issue and passed a new senate bill, numbered SB982. AAA has lauded the move, as it was the need of the hour for stringent action on behalf of lawmakers to address the issue.

As of the current law provisions, drivers are only required to make a lane change and proceed with caution, if possible, when passing emergency and law enforcement vehicles. These vehicles typically feature red or blue flashing lights. It also includes utility, tow, and roadside assistance vehicles like the ones used by AAA, which feature amber flashing lights when on the roadside for emergency repairs.

With the latest amendment, drivers are expected to change lanes and proceed with caution for not just emergency vehicles but all stationery vehicles. Whether these vehicles feature flashlights of any kind or not should be considered by drivers, and the same level of caution has to be exercised by them for all stationery vehicles on the road. The new law also states that any violation of the provisions enlisted would be punishable as a traffic infraction.

AAA states that this law was essential, and it needed to be amended to provide for the safety of all vehicles and their passengers. It reiterates that the moment a person steps out of their vehicle, they expose themselves to danger immediately. The emergency could be anything – it may be a flat tire, a medical issue, or any other mechanical problem.

Irrespective of the issue that has resulted in the car making a halt by the road, other vehicles passing by have to exercise caution for them all. Everyone in, around, or beside the vehicle must stay vigilant and have the space to carry out repairs safely without the constant fear of being run over by another passing vehicle.

The bill has received heartening support from drivers of Virginia too. According to a poll conducted by the AAA, 91% of drivers were in favor of the ‘Move over Law’ and were willing to follow the rules proactively for road safety. AAA thanked Senator David Marsden and Delegate Chris Runion for proposing this bill and ensuring it received wholehearted support from both chambers in the General Assembly.

Senator David Marsden said, “This law will protect thousands of Virginians every year by expanding the Move Over requirement to include all disabled vehicles on the side of the road. Let’s treat everybody’s safety equally in these potentially dangerous roadside situations.”

Delegate Chris Runion also voiced his opinion, stating, “We were pleased to work with AAA on this important highway safety bill. We continue to engage motorists on the importance of protecting everyone on the highway: public safety officers, tow truck drivers, and fellow motorists. It is my honor to serve the citizens of the Commonwealth that rely on Interstate 81, and I am happy to pass legislation that will protect drivers between the moment their vehicle becomes disabled and the moment the tow truck arrives. We look forward to continuing to partner with AAA to keep our highways and roadways safe.”

With the passing of this legislation, Virginia will become the 10th state in the US to extend Move Over protection to disabled, stationary vehicles. The latest amendment to the law will come into effect on July 1, 2023.

For more details or any clarification about the new enactment, feel free to contact the nearest Charlottesville personal injury lawyer.


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