Each day, roadside workers, police officers, first responders and stranded motorists risk their lives on Pennsylvania highways. The side of the road is a dangerous place to be during an emergency situation or when performing work. The Pennsylvania Turnpike has a posted speed limit of 70 mph. Other highways have speed limits of 65. When someone is hit on the side of the road, it's usually catastrophic.
Pennsylvania's Move Over law applies to highways with two or more lanes. It requires drivers to move over to the left lane when approaching a roadside emergency response, car with flashing hazard lights, or a construction work zone. It also requires drivers to reduce their speed by at least 20 mph below the posted speed limit. Most emergency response or work zones have flares, signs and cones on the side of the road to warn drivers to move over.
Strict penalties for Move Over law violations
On October 29, 2020, Act 105 of 2020 (Senate Bill 1281) was signed into law. The new law — which will take effect on April 27, 2021 — redefines how motorists should react to emergency response zones. It will also impose stricter penalties for those who violate the Move Over law. The penalties violators will face once the law takes effect include:
- Two points added to a driver's record
- $500 fine for first-time offenses
- $1,000 fine for second-time offenses
- $2,000 fine for third or subsequent offenses
- Fines are doubled when several traffic violations occur in an emergency response zone where first responders are present
- 90-day driver's license suspension for third or subsequent offenses or incidents that result in injury or death
- Six-month driver's license suspension if a driver injures or kills an emergency worker or person near a disabled vehicle
- Additional $10,000 fine for a driver who injures or kills an emergency worker or person near a disabled vehicle
Why stricter penalties are necessary
It's critical that drivers get the message. Drivers should allow themselves more time during their commutes and prepare to slow down. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, there were 1,626 crashes at work zones in 2019. This resulted in 1,074 workers injured and 16 killed. These crashes occurred on:
- PA interstates - 37.3%
- State highways - 47.8%
- Turnpikes - 9.4%
- Local roads - 5.6%
What to do if you were hurt in a roadside crash
Whether you were a stranded motorist, emergency responder, or roadside construction worker, know your rights if you were injured in a roadside crash. An experienced Hazleton, PA car accident attorney at McNelis Law can help you pursue the justice you deserve. We can investigate your crash and get to the bottom of what happened. We can also put an accurate value on your claim and negotiate for a fair settlement on your behalf.
Our firm also handles workplace accident claims. If you were hit by a car while working, you can pursue a third-party workplace injury claim. The party that caused your injury must not have been a fellow employee or your employer. (Workers' compensation covers medical costs and lost wages in these cases.) Third parties include negligent motorists, property owners or manufacturers of defective equipment, for example. Unlike workers' compensation claims, a third-party claim allows you to pursue non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life and emotional anguish.
Contact our Hazleton law office to get started on your claim. Our legal consultations are confidential and free of charge.