Michigan Move Over Laws

Michigan law imposes $400 in fines and two points on your driving record if you don’t slow down and move over for stationary emergency vehicles.
Written by Pat Roache
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
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In the state of
Michigan
, failure to slow down and move over if possible when passing stationary emergency vehicles using flashing lights could result in a $400 fine and two points on your driving record.
In a state known for its car industry, move over laws play an important role in keeping emergency responders safe at emergency sites in Michigan. As of January 2022, Michigan has had no reports of onsite emergency responders killed by passing vehicles in the last three years.
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What are the move over laws in Michigan?

Michigan traffic laws
require drivers to slow down and change lanes or proceed with caution when preparing to pass stopped emergency vehicles using their flashing lights. Michigan Vehicle Code 257.653a specifically states that drivers passing a stationary emergency vehicle should do the following:
  • Reduce speed by at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit
  • Move over one lane or two vehicles' width when there are at least two adjacent lanes moving in the same direction
  • Proceed with care and caution if moving over is not possible due to the lack of a second, same-direction lane, road conditions, or the presence of other traffic

What is considered an emergency vehicle in Michigan?

Move over laws in Michigan apply to the following stationary emergency and service vehicles using flashing, rotating, or oscillating red, blue, white, and/or amber lights:
  • Patrol cars and other police vehicles
  • Ambulances and other emergency rescue unit vehicles
  • Fire trucks and other department vehicles
  • Tow trucks or other roadside assistance vehicles
  • Privately owned vehicles of volunteer or paid emergency responders if authorized by the local or state authorities
When in doubt, assume that the vehicle is an authorized emergency vehicle if you see emergency lights in use. 

Penalties for violating Michigan’s move over laws

Any driver who violates Michigan’s move over law can be charged with a civil infraction and ordered to pay a $400 civil fine. In addition to these charges, the driver will receive two points added to their
Michigan driving record
.
If the violation caused injury or death, the responsible driver could face higher fines, prison sentencing, or both. Always slow down and change lanes if possible when approaching stationary emergency or service vehicles with their lights flashing.

Violating move over laws can cause your insurance rates to increase

The charge for violating Michigan move-over laws will add two points to your Michigan driving record, which could affect your insurance rates. Typically, insurance companies follow their own point systems, but that doesn’t mean a driving violation won’t end up there as well.
If your insurance is already hard on your wallet, points incurred by a move over violation could have major consequences.
Jerry
may be able to help you lower your insurance rate now so you can be prepared for anything.
Key Takeaway Ask a Jerry representative about your insurance company’s point system to find out if move over violations will affect your insurance.

Michigan move over laws save lives

Michigan passed its move over laws in 2001 during a nationwide effort to account for the safety of emergency responders and law enforcement. The laws are intended to create safer roadside circumstances for individuals responding to the scene of an accident, traffic violation, or mechanical breakdown.
Move over laws began getting adopted by states in the early 2000s after James D. Garcia, a South Carolina paramedic, was injured by a passing vehicle. Garcia was held responsible for the accident, and so began his fight for legislation to protect emergency responders.
Garcia’s work was successful and move over laws are now included in every state’s legislation requiring drivers to use caution when passing active emergency scenes. Michigan is even part of the Six State Trooper Project which targets stricter enforcement of move over laws in Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.
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