Cop Talk: What is the 'move over' law?
Q: What is the "move over" law and when do I have to move over for law enforcement and other roadside vehicles?
A: Minnesota's "move over" law is also called the Ted Foss Law. This law was brought into effect after Minnesota State Trooper Corporal Ted Foss was killed by a vehicle that veered over and struck him while he was on a traffic stop in August of 2000. The new law was passed in 2001 after Corporal Foss' death.
The law states that persons passing an emergency vehicle (this includes tow trucks and maintenance vehicles) must move over, allowing a full lane (if possible) of travel between the emergency vehicle and their vehicle if on a roadway with two lanes going the same direction. If there is only one lane going in the direction you are traveling, you must slow down and give as much space as possible.
Minnesota State Statute 169.18 Subd. 11.Passing parked emergency vehicle; citation; probable cause.
(a) When approaching and before passing an authorized emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated that is parked or otherwise stopped on or next to a street or highway having two lanes in the same direction, the driver of a vehicle shall safely move the vehicle to the lane farthest away from the emergency vehicle, if it is possible to do so.
(b) When approaching and before passing an authorized emergency vehicle with its emergency lights activated that is parked or otherwise stopped on or next to a street or highway having more than two lanes in the same direction, the driver of a vehicle shall safely move the vehicle so as to leave a full lane vacant between the driver and any lane in which the emergency vehicle is completely or partially parked or otherwise stopped, if it is possible to do so.
For the complete wording of the statute, see: https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=169.18
In addition to the "move over" law, another statute comes into effect for the road conditions we have been seeing recently with the snow and ice. This is the "due care" portion of the speeding statute.
Subdivision 1.Duty to drive with due care.
No person shall drive a vehicle on a highway at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions. Every driver is responsible for becoming and remaining aware of the actual and potential hazards then existing on the highway and must use due care in operating a vehicle. In every event speed shall be so restricted as may be necessary to avoid colliding with any person, vehicle or other conveyance on or entering the highway in compliance with legal requirements and the duty of all persons to use due care.
Essentially this means that every driver is responsible to drive at a speed that allows them to keep their vehicle in control. If you have to slam on the brakes for the car ahead of you swerving or stopping suddenly and you cannot keep your vehicle under control, you are not driving with due care. Give yourself some room to maneuver and time to brake if you have to so you are not involved in a crash.
With the roadways slippery and officers on traffic stops, crashes, or other duties that have them out at the roadside, take the time to slow down, move over if you can and drive safely. The officers, tow drivers, road crews and other workers have families to go home to. Remember, you have the ability to take a couple more seconds to prevent a tragedy that could result in a lifetime of pain and suffering for yourself or someone else's family.
Please take the time to slow down, drive safe and take your time to get to your destination safely.
The Alexandria Police Department and the Echo Press have teamed together to create "Cop Talk, Ask the Alexandria Police Department." Each article will feature an answer to a question from a reader, a safety tip or some timely topic. If you have a question about crime prevention or safety, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.