AAA ND leads effort to expand state’s Move Over Law to disabled vehicles

Officials presented the proposed legislation to the House Transportation Committee Thursday.
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 4:18 PM CST|Updated: Jan. 13, 2023 at 9:47 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - A new law could soon make driving on North Dakota roads safer.

Officials want to include all stationary vehicles in the state’s Slow Down, Move Over Law.

House Bill 1141 is sponsored by Representative Austen Schauer of West Fargo. It would require North Dakota drivers to slow down, or get over for vehicles on the side of the road with their hazard lights on.

The current law only applies to emergency vehicles, tow trucks and highway maintenance vehicles.

“Being on the side of the road is dangerous for everyone,” Regional Director of Public Affairs for AAA Gene LaDoucer said. “We have seen that even those who the law is already intended to protect are not exempt from the perils on the road.”

Across the country, nearly 350 people are hit and killed each year while outside of a stationary vehicle. In North Dakota, a vehicle is struck once a month while sitting along an interstate or multi-lane highway.

Despite all states having some type of Move Over Law, drivers routinely say they’re unaware of the law. A AAA poll of North Dakota drivers last fall showed 36% were unsure or didn’t know about the law.

That same survey also showed 96% would be concerned about other cars passing closely at high speeds if they were stopped on the side of the road. HB 1141 simplifies the law, makes education efforts easier and increases the safety of all road users, including emergency and road maintenance workers both on and off duty, according to LaDoucer.

“AAA has been instrumental in the passage of Move Over laws across the country to protect first responders, law enforcement officers, tow truck operators and highway workers,” LaDoucer said. “We would also like to see those same protections extended to motorists with disabled vehicles to save lives on our roadways.”

Officials presented the proposed legislation to the House Transportation Committee Thursday and are hopeful the bill will move forward. AAA says drivers who don’t follow the law can be ticketed $20.