California’s Move-Over Law Protects Emergency Responders

California highways were not necessarily designed to handle the amount of traffic they see each day. This is especially the case in and around Los Angeles, which is known for having some of the most congested highways in the country. Given the size of existing roads, government planning agencies often opt to open an additional lane of traffic and eliminate or greatly reduce the size of the road’s shoulder.

Over the years, however, the decreased size of road shoulders has resulted in hundreds of California car accidents involving police, paramedics, tow truck operators, and others whose job requires they spend time on the side of the highway. Most often, a distracted driver comes up on a stopped emergency vehicle without seeing that it is blocking the lane. The driver then collides with the stopped vehicle.

In response to these accidents, lawmakers have passed the California Move-Over Law, embodied in California Vehicle Code section 21809. Essentially, the law requires motorists who are approaching certain roadside vehicles to either move into an adjacent lane, if possible, or slow down to a “reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.”

The types of vehicles that are protected under California’s Move-Over Law are listed in the statute, and they include:

  • Authorized emergency vehicles,
  • Tow-trucks, and
  • Department of Transportation vehicles.

Importantly, in order for the law to apply, the vehicle’s emergency lights must be activated. A driver’s failure to comply with the Move-Over Law can result in a small fine. However, it can also be a basis for liability in a California personal injury lawsuit.

CHP Officer Struck While on the Shoulder of Highway 99

Earlier this month, a California Highway Patrol officer was struck by a passing motorist as he was responding to the scene of an accident on Highway 99. According to a news report, a semi-truck caught fire and had pulled over to the side of the road. About 40 minutes later, two vehicles got into an accident due to the slowdown created by the truck. The CHP officer was responding to the accident, and he pulled his vehicle up behind the others that were involved in the crash. As he got out of his car, the CHP officer was struck by a motorist.

Police have begun an investigation into the accident, and they do not believe that drugs or alcohol were involved. The officer was hospitalized but is expected to recover fully.

Have You Been Injured in a California Car Accident?

If you or a loved one has recently been injured in a car accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. The dedicated personal injury lawyers at  Sharifi Firm have decades of experience assisting those injured in car accidents with seeking the compensation they need and deserve. We work closely with our clients as well as our team of expert witnesses to craft convincing cases for compensation in all types of personal injury cases. Call 866-422-7222 to schedule a free consultation with an attorney at Sharifi Firm today.

More Blog Posts:

The Types of Available Damages in California Injury Claims, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, March 6, 2018

Establishing Liability in California Premises Liability Claims, Southern California Injury Lawyer Blog, March 21, 2018

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