SHA to publicize 'move over' law
The State Highway Administration plans to roll out billboards around the state over the next couple months informing Maryland drivers about a new law requiring drivers to move over a lane or slow down considerably when passing en emergency vehicle by the side of the road with its flashing lights on.
The law, which took effect Oct. 1, has not received nearly as much publicity as another one banning the use of hand-held cell phones while driving. SHA spokesman Charlie Gischlar said the agency will try to make up for that by erecting a series of signs along major roadways, starting with more rural roads in the state and working toward the center.
"We want to really hit it hard to raise awareness of this," Gischlar said.
The spokesman said the SHA is inclined to use conventional signs rather than variable electronic message boards to alert people to the new law because of the difficulty of fitting the message in the electronic format and the potential for distracting drivers.
So far, the reports I've receive indicate that the Maryland State Police are issuing warnings about the new law rather than writing tickets. But the police say that's not a formal policy and that it's up to the officer's discretion whether to issue a $110, 2-point citation.
Prudence would suggest that drivers make it a habit to comply with this law as quickly as they can. Police have wanted to see this law on the books for a long time, and many officers have had the experience of nearly being bowled over while making a traffic stop. If I were in their shoes, I'd be eager to write some of these tickets.