The side of the road is a very dangerous place to be with traffic flying by, but this is exactly where thousands of law enforcement officers, firefighters, rescue personnel, VDOT workers, and other personnel do their jobs every day. Many of these individuals have been injured and killed from being struck by passing vehicles. As a result, the Virginia General Assembly passed legislation in 2002 requiring motorists to move over a lane or slow down to a cautionary speed when approaching stationary vehicles on the road or side of the road that are displaying flashing, blinking or alternating blue, red or amber lights.
In 2014, the month of June was established as "Move Over Awareness Month" in Virginia.
§ 46.2-921.1. Drivers to yield right-of-way or reduce speed when approaching stationary emergency vehicles on highways; penalties.
A. The driver of any motor vehicle, upon approaching a stationary vehicle that is displaying a flashing, blinking, or alternating blue, red, or amber light or lights as provided in § 46.2-1022, 46.2-1023, or 46.2-1024 or subdivision A 1 or A 2 of § 46.2-1025 shall (i) on a highway having at least four lanes, at least two of which are intended for traffic proceeding as the approaching vehicle, proceed with caution and, if reasonable, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the stationary vehicle or (ii) if changing lanes would be unreasonable or unsafe, proceed with due caution and maintain a safe speed for highway conditions.
B. A violation of any provision of this section shall be punishable as a traffic infraction, except that a second or subsequent violation of any provision of this section, when such violation involved a vehicle with flashing, blinking, or alternating blue or red lights, shall be punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor.
C. If the violation resulted in damage to property of another person, the court may, in addition, order the suspension of the driver's privilege to operate a motor vehicle for not more than one year. If the violation resulted in injury to another person, the court may, in addition to any other penalty imposed, order the suspension of the driver's privilege to operate a motor vehicle for not more than two years. If the violation resulted in the death of another person, the court may, in addition to any other penalty imposed, order the suspension of the driver's privilege to operate a motor vehicle for two years.
D. The provisions of this section shall not apply in highway work zones as defined in § 46.2-878.1.
(2002, cc. 163, 341; 2008, c. 818; 2010, c. 289.)