By Attorney H.Q. (Alex) Nguyen, car accident attorney and founder of the 770GOODLAW, H.Q. (Alex) Nguyen Law Firm, LLC
Emergency vehicles and those that work on Georgia’s roads are in a precarious position. In order to do their job, they must interact with traffic. Sometimes, that traffic is moving very quickly, posing a real danger to anyone that is walking alongside of it. Lawmakers in Georgia have recognized this problem and have created legislation in an attempt to deal with it. The question is now, is it working?
Georgia’s Move Over Law has been on the books for over a decade. It requires drivers to move over one lane of traffic if there are emergency vehicles on the side of the road. If drivers cannot safely move over, they are required to slow down and be prepared to come to a full stop. It is not just emergency vehicles that drivers need to move for, either. The law includes utility vehicles, Department of Transportation vehicles, HERO units, and tow trucks.
Creating a law is one thing. Enforcing it and hoping that it changes driving habits is another entirely. So, are the laws in Georgia working? It is difficult to tell. One thing is for sure, the Move Over Law is being enforced, which leads many to think the law has been effective on some level.
Between the years of 2014 and 2019, Georgia State Patrol worked 135 car accidents on the highways. From those car crashes, there were 98 total injuries. During that same time, the Georgia State Patrol also issued 3,723 tickets to drivers that did not move over, or slow down effectively, when passing a vehicle listed within the legislation. However, enforcing a law does not always mean that it is working. What is clear is that Georgia drivers are still not getting the message that it is important to move over and allow these workers, that put their lives on the line every day, to perform their duties safely.
The enforcement of the law may have brought down the number of car accidents slightly. If caught, those that do not move over face a $500 fine, and three points added to their license. Worse, failing to obey the law is considered negligence by the courts. That could mean that anyone that disregards the law could be liable for paying compensation to anyone they hurt as a result.
H.Q. Alex Nguyen is a personal injury attorney and founder of the 770GOODLAW, H.Q. (Alex) Nguyen Law Firm LLC. Located in Norcross, Georgia, the firm has experience handling all types of personal injury cases including car accidents, truck accidents, and wrongful death. To find out more about Alex and the firm, visit Facebook and LinkedIn.