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What is Georgia’s Move Over Law? Slow Down. Change Lanes. Save Lives.

Save Lives & Move Over. It’s the Law!

In Florida, a 25-year-old state trooper was struck and killed as she investigated a highway accident. A 30-year-old Tennessee firefighter died when a tractor-trailer sideswiped the fire truck as he was putting out a highway car fire. And in Georgia, a 42-year-old wrecker operator lost his life as he was operating fleet on the highway.

The Move Over Law in Georgia was created in response to the increased number of individuals killed or injured while working on the highway. These laws are not new; over 40 states across the nation now have these laws. Marietta Wrecker Service would like to remind the motoring public of Georgia’s Move Over Law regarding emergency vehicles and construction workers.

Georgia’s Move Over Law is in effect as a result of the increasing number of police, emergency technicians, and DOT workers killed during routine traffic stops, crashes, and highway construction projects. This law was implemented in order to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities to emergency responders, including police officers, paramedics, firefighters, wrecker operators, and highway maintenance workers, by enforcing an open buffer lane between traffic and roadside emergency vehicles. This law is also in effect to protect passing motorists.

What is an Emergency Vehicle?

An emergency vehicle is a police vehicle, ambulance, fire truck, or a towing, recovery or highway maintenance vehicle. These emergency vehicles display either flashing yellow, amber, red, white or blue lights.

The Move Over Law in Georgia: What is the Law?

Georgia’s Move Over Law: Georgia Code, Title 40-6-16.

A. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, white, red, or blue lights shall approach the authorized emergency vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:

1. Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

2. If a lane change under paragraph (1) of this subsection would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

B. The operator of a motor vehicle approaching a stationary towing or recovery vehicle or a stationary highway maintenance vehicle that is displaying flashing yellow, amber, or red lights shall approach the vehicle with due caution and shall, absent any other direction by a peace officer, proceed as follows:

1. Make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to the towing, recovery, or highway maintenance vehicle if possible in the existing safety and traffic conditions; or

2. If a lane change under paragraph (1) of this subsection would be impossible, prohibited by law, or unsafe, reduce the speed of the motor vehicle to a reasonable and proper speed for the existing road and traffic conditions, which speed shall be less than the posted speed limit, and be prepared to stop.

C. Violation of subsection (a) or (b) of this Code section shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500.00.

What is Georgia’s Move Over Law Explained?

In Georgia, drivers approaching a stationary emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights, including towing and recovery vehicles, traveling in the same direction, must either:

  • Change lanes into a lane non-adjacent to the emergency vehicle; OR
  • If a lane change is not possible, slow down to a reasonable and proper speed for the traffic conditions, and be prepared to stop.

What if a Lane Change is Not Possible for Move Over Law?

If you cannot change lanes when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle and you are in the lane adjacent to the emergency vehicle, slow down to a speed reasonable and proper for the traffic conditions. Be prepared to stop.

In Georgia, there is NOT a standard speed-limit reduction when approaching a stationary emergency vehicle. Instead, motorists must use their own discretion when passing an emergency vehicle. SLOW DOWN! Make sure your speed is reasonable and proper for the traffic conditions, and your speed is lower than the posted speed limit.

How to Safely Pass Emergency Vehicles and Tow Trucks in Georgia?

When passing emergency vehicles and tow trucks in Georgia, motorists must either change lanes into a non-adjacent lane, OR slow down to a reasonable and proper speed and be prepared to stop.

What is the Speed Limit When Passing Emergency Vehicle?

There is not a standard speed limit when passing emergency vehicles in Georgia. If you cannot move over a lane, reduce your speed significantly. Your speed must be reasonable and proper for the traffic conditions (take into account if it’s raining), and your speed must be lower than the speed limit. Be prepared to stop.

How Slow Should I Drive When Passing Emergency Vehicle?

If you cannot change lanes, slow down to a reasonable speed in the current traffic conditions at which you can stop. For example, if you are driving in the rain and you see a police officer walking back to his car after a routine traffic stop, you want to make sure you are going slow enough to come to a complete stop if needed.

What’s a Buffer Lane?

A buffer allows protection against harm. A buffer lane refers to an adjacent traffic lane next to an emergency roadside responder vehicle and traffic. The goal of Georgia’s Move Over Law is to maintain an open buffer lane between passing highway traffic and authorized roadside emergency vehicles.

How Much is the Fine for the Move Over Law in Georgia?

Consequences of the Move Over Law in Georgia can result in fines up to $500, in addition to court fees.

Georgia Move Over Law Fine ranges and points:

  • $500
  • 3 points on your license
  • Court fees

Slow Down. Change Lanes. Save Lives.

At Marietta Wrecker, we have a commitment to safe driving. When motorists create a buffer lane for emergency responder vehicles, the margin of safety increases for all public safety and emergency personnel, as well as for motorists and passengers. A $500 ticket is a costly reminder to ALWAYS remember: move over, slow down, and save lives.

Light Duty/Vehicle Towing:
(770)-767-0569

Medium/Heavy Duty Towing:
(770) 767-0540

Emergency Road Side Service:
(770) 765-1933

Equipment Transport:
(770)-282-9250

Private Trespass Towing:
(770)-765-1972

Vehicle Impound Release:
(770) 765-1941