Gov. Neil Abercrombie
Gov. Neil Abercrombie

Gov. Neil Abercrombie today signed a new "Move Over" law that requires motorists to "slow down" and "move over" when approaching emergency vehicles and tow trucks stopped for an emergency or rendering assistance on the side of the road. 

Emergency vehicles include police, fire, ocean safety, and emergency medical services vehicles, freeway service patrols, and tow trucks using their flashing emergency lights. The new law takes effect immediately.  And with its enactment, the U.S. now has coverage for emergency workers nationwide.

The Hawai'i law requires drivers to 1) slow down to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe under the circumstances and 2) make a lane change into the adjacent lane if necessary and if it is safe to do so.  "Reasonableness" and "prudence" takes into account weather and road conditions, and vehicular and pedestrian traffic in the immediate area. 

The Hawaii law also requires drivers to make the extra lane change "if possible" to leave one lane between the driver and the emergency vehicle.

Depending upon the particular circumstances surrounding a violation of the Hawai'i "Move Over" law, drivers who violate the law could be subject to monetary fines.  In situations involving bodily injury or death, violators may be charged with a felony or misdemeanor, and may be subject to fines and/or incarceration.

"We want to help spread the safety message of ‘Slow Down, Move Over' in Hawai'i and throughout the nation," said AAA Hawai'i Regional Manager Diane Peterson.  "It's been our responsibility and honor to help motorists who are stranded on the roadside, as well as those who work everyday to protect them," Peterson added.  "This law will enhance traffic safety by raising driver awareness of hazards involved when passing vehicles and people providing roadside assistance."

Lawmakers passed the "move over" bill after two Honolulu police officers were killed on Oahu roadways during the past year.

Hawaii was the only state that didn't have a "move over" law.

Related Stories:

Sister of fallen HPD officer urges lawmakers to pass Move Over bill

Push for 'move over' legislation after death of HPD officer

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