Pennsylvania Move Over Laws

Failure to move over for stopped emergency vehicles in Pennsylvania carries a $500 fine and 2 points on your record.
Written by Tiffany Leung
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
Updated on Jan 11, 2023
According to Pennsylvania state law, if you fail to move over or slow down for a stopped emergency vehicle with flashing lights, you could receive a $500 fine and two points on your driving record
A large percentage of emergency responder deaths occur as the result of being struck on-scene by passing vehicles. To protect emergency responders such as paramedics, firefighters, and law enforcement officers, many states have moved to pass laws on how drivers should react when they see an emergency vehicle. 
Other than Washington, D.C., every state has its own move over law. In order to avoid a penalty, it’s essential to be familiar with the terms of the law in your state.
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What are the move over laws in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania’s move over law requires drivers approaching stationary emergency vehicles with flashing lights to change lanes if possible or slow down. Under Pennsylvania Code, Section 3327 of Title 75, drivers must either: 
  • Change into a lane not adjacent to the emergency vehicle and disabled vehicle if it’s safe to merge lanes and possible to do so, or
  • Stay in the right/adjacent lane and pass the emergency area at no faster than 20 mph below the posted speed limit and be prepared to stop

What is considered an emergency vehicle in Pennsylvania? 

The Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania’s move over laws

Drivers who do not change lanes or slow down when approaching any of the vehicles in the list above could be charged with a violation of the move over law. The penalties include: 
  • $500 fine for first offense
  • $1,000 fine for second offense
  • $2,000 and 90-day license suspension for third offense
  • Two points on your Pennsylvania driving record
  • Double traffic violation fines when committed in emergency response area when first responder is present
Additionally, if your failure to slow down leads to an injury or death, you could be subject to additional fines up to $10,000 and a six-month license suspension. To keep everyone safe, always change lanes or slow down if you see a stopped vehicle with flashing lights. 

Can violating move over laws raise your insurance? 

A move over law violation puts two
driver's license points
onto your Pennsylvania record, which will lead to a hike in your insurance premiums. The percentage will depend on the circumstances and severity of the charges against you. 
Adding two points to drivers with an already-tarnished driving record will raise red flags for insurance companies. As a result, these drivers would see a significant increase in their insurance rates. The bottom line is, always drive with caution and follow the rules to avoid paying for expensive insurance.

Why are there move over laws? 

Move over laws are in place to protect emergency responders from getting struck by passing vehicles while they are on scene. The laws mandate drivers to create a buffer zone for emergency vehicles and responders by changing lanes or slowing down.
South Carolina paramedic James D. Garcia was struck and injured by a rubbernecking driver while he was on scene. However, Garcia was found at fault for the accident. He then worked tirelessly to have laws passed for protecting emergency responders. Garcia’s hard work paid off, and the first move over laws in the United States got passed in the early 2000s. 
As of 2021, every state has a move over law that requires drivers to proceed with caution when passing emergency scenes. Unfortunately, violations still occur. According to the
Emergency Responder Safety Institute
, 44 emergency responders were struck and killed by vehicles in 2019 alone. 

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