Have you or has anyone you know been charged with failing to move over while driving in Michigan?
Did you know you could be charged with a misdemeanor, have four points on your driver’s license, spend 90 days in jail, and be fined up to $500 just for driving in the wrong lane on the highway at the wrong time or even failing to slow down and pass carefully?
It’s true, even though this law is inadequately enforced in some cases, leading to tragic and unnecessary roadside deaths.
Failure to Move Over on Michigan Roads
If you fail to merge over at least one lane, when it’s possible to do so, for any stopped emergency vehicle whose lights are flashing you could be facing these charges. In addition, this includes tow trucks.
If your actions result in the injury or death of a police officer, firefighter or other emergency personnel, you are looking at 15 years in prison and a $7,500 fine.
It seems like knowing this law would motivate motorists to slow down and pass carefully for emergency vehicles on shoulders.
However, that’s not always the case. About 60 tow truck drivers are killed every year in the act of helping stranded motorists. And that’s just tow truck drivers. Numerous other emergency personnel – including police officers – die the same way.
Fatal Accident Caused Due to Failing to Move Over
In May 2018, 42-year-old Nader Chehadi was struck and killed on eastbound I-94 near State Street while he was attempting to haul a school bus off the highway.
Hundreds of tow trucks lined up outside of Chehadi’s funeral at a mosque in Dearborn Heights two days later in a show of solidarity. Out of necessity, the tow truck community is a tight-knit one. Many times, a passing tow truck driver will pull over to help shield another driver helping someone, no matter what company they work for.
These truck drivers know how dangerous it is. In an attempt to get Michigan drivers to consider their lives, many of the tow trucks have bumper stickers reading “Move Over Michigan.”
Michigan State Law
Move Over Michigan is more than just a slogan. It is Michigan state law. Police officers do conduct stings for drivers who fail to follow the move over law. It’s personal for police officers as well, and you don’t want to be on the receiving end of one of these stings.
You may think you’ve done nothing wrong, or that police should show leeway. However, they won’t.
You are actually breaking the law, which is there to protect emergency responders to people stranded on the highway. In doing so, in the eyes of the law, you are showing an unconcern for the lives of others. No appointment is worth the life of another person.
It’s sadly more normal than not for tow truck drivers, police officers, and other emergency personnel to have their lives endangered or ended by drivers on the highway refusing to move over.
If you want to be safe from being the subject of a police sting on move over violators, it’s best to change the way you drive today and always practice passing with caution.
If you are facing criminal charges related to the move over law, you will need an experienced criminal defense attorney. Contact my office today.