What is Colorado’s ‘Move Over’ Law?
In 2005, Colorado implemented a state law which directed drivers to shift lanes away from pulled over police vehicles, tow trucks, and other emergency vehicles. This law was put into effect to try and keep Colorado emergency service members safe while pulled over on the shoulder. Many times these shoulders are so narrow, that vehicles in the adjacent lane come dangerously close to the stopped cars while moving at high velocities.
What if I can’t move over because of traffic, weather, etc.?
If you have been in a situation where you must try and shift lanes in order to obey this law, you may have noticed that sometimes traffic patterns and other factors make it difficult or more dangerous to shift lanes before approaching the emergency vehicles. There are even situations where it seems so counterintuitive to shift, that you just keep driving in the same lane without any other plausible recourse.
An Update to Colorado’s Law For When You Can’t Move Over
To mitigate the confusion of drivers who find themselves puzzled on what to do when they can’t shift lanes in time, Colorado has added a new provision to the law. If you cannot safely move over to another lane when approaching vehicles and emergency personnel on the side of the road, you must decrease your speed. If you are in a speed limit zone of 40mph or less, you must reduce your speed to 25mph. For zones that have speed limits posted higher than 40mph, you must reduce your speed by 20mph lower than the speed limit. For example, if you are driving in a 65mph speed limit zone, you must decrease your speed to at least 45mph.
What is the penalty for not following this law?
Enforcement for this law means you are subject to an $87 ticket for not pulling over or decreasing your speed appropriately. When possible, moving over and shifting lanes is preferable to keep those on the shoulder safe. In the event that you cannot move over in time, be sure to use the new guidelines and slow down while keeping extra caution for the vehicles and personnel on the side of the road.
To read the bill summary of the ‘Move Over’ Law visit the Colorado General Assembly page here.