Georgia Move Over Laws

Failure to move over for stopped emergency vehicles in Georgia carries a $500 fine and 3 points on your record.
Written by Melanie Krieps Mergen
Edited by Amy Bobinger
Georgia state law requires drivers to move over or slow down for stopped emergency vehicles with flashing lights. Failure to do so could result in a $500 fine and three points on your driving record. 
  • Move Over laws require motorists to create a protective buffer zone for emergency vehicles and responders, including law enforcement officers, firemen, and paramedics. 
  • When coming across an emergency vehicle that has flashing lights, the operator of a motor vehicle must either initiate a lane change or slow down, depending on traffic conditions.

Move Over laws in Georgia

Georgia’s Move Over law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles with flashing emergency lights to change lanes when possible or slow down. It also applies to emergency vehicles that may be pulled over on the side of the road.
Under Georgia Code, Title 40-6-16, Georgia drivers must either
  • Change into a lane not adjacent to the emergency vehicle if it’s safe and possible to do so, or
  • Slow down to a reasonable speed under the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop

What’s considered an emergency vehicle in Georgia

The Georgia move over law applies to the following vehicles displaying flashing red, yellow, amber, white, or blue lights
  • Patrol cars
  • Ambulances
  • Fire trucks
  • Tow trucks
  • Maintenance vehicles
  • Utility vehicles
  • Recovery vehicles
  • Other law enforcement vehicles

Penalties for violating Georgia’s move over laws

If you fail to pull over or slow down when approaching any of the vehicles listed above, you could be charged with a violation of the move over law. The penalties for breaking this law include
  • A $500 fine
  • Three points on your Georgia driving record
If you’re pulled over for this offense, or if your failure to slow down caused an injury or death, you could be subject to additional charges, including civil and criminal charges. Always change lanes or slow down if you see a stopped vehicle with flashing lights. 
Additionally, if you already have points on your driving record, this offense could potentially lead to the
suspension of your driver’s license

Violating move over laws could raise your insurance

A move over violation will add three points to your driving record in Georgia, which will lead to a jump in your
Georgia car insurance rates
. Depending on the exact circumstances and severity of the charges against you, the increase could be significant. 
If your record is less than perfect or if you’re already in a hard-to-insure demographic, those three new points on your record could pose a real problem for your wallet. Drive carefully and observe the rules of the road to avoid unnecessary insurance expenses. 

Why Move Over laws matter

Move Over laws require drivers to create a buffer zone for emergency vehicles and responders, including police officers, firefighters, and paramedics. These laws are intended to protect emergency responders from being struck by passing vehicles while at the scene of an accident. 
The first move over laws in the United States were passed in the early 2000s after South Carolina paramedic James D. Garcia was struck and injured by a rubbernecking driver. Garcia was found at fault for the accident, and has worked tirelessly ever since for the passage of laws to protect emergency responders. 
Garcia’s work paid off. As of 2021, every state has a Move Over law requiring drivers to proceed with caution when passing emergency scenes to reduce needless fatalities during emergency situations. 
However, violations still occur. According to the
Emergency Responder Safety Institute
, 44 emergency responders were struck and killed by vehicles in 2019 alone. To help protect yourself and any first responders working Georgia’s streets, be sure to give emergency vehicles the space they need when they’re on the side of the road.
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