California “Move Over” Law and Wrongful Death

California motorists are required to take action when approaching an area on the freeway where emergency vehicles are present and displaying emergency lights.  This is known as the “Move Over Law,” where motorists must safely move over to a lane not adjacent to the emergency vehicles.

If not practical or safe to do so, the motorist must slow down to a reasonable or prudent speed that is safe for the existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.  Enacted in 42 states, this law is intended to protect emergency workers and personnel at the scene of an emergency incident or other situation where public safety personnel are present.

California Vehicle Code section 21809 states:

21809.  (a) A person driving a vehicle on a freeway approaching a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights, a stationary tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, or a stationary marked Department of Transportation vehicle that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, shall approach with due caution and, before passing in a lane immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or Department of Transportation vehicle, absent other direction by a peace officer, proceed to do one of the following:

(1) Make a lane change into an available lane not immediately adjacent to the authorized emergency vehicle, tow truck, or Department of Transportation vehicle, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, if practicable and not prohibited by law.

(2) If the maneuver described in paragraph (1) would be unsafe or impracticable, slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.

(b) A violation of subdivision (a) is an infraction, punishable by a fine of not more than fifty dollars ($50).

(c) The requirements of subdivision (a) do not apply if the stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is displaying emergency lights, the stationary tow truck that is displaying flashing amber warning lights, or the stationary marked Department of Transportation vehicle that is displaying flashing amber warning lights is not adjacent to the freeway or is separated from the freeway by a protective physical barrier.

As a Roseville personal injury lawyer, I have seen the devastation wrongful death accidents like this can cause for Roseville  families. I ask that you please remember the “move over law” while driving to avoid causing another tragic accident.

Recent Blog Posts

  • california fire possibly caused by utility company under strict liability

    3 Fascinating Strict Liability Tort Cases in Sacramento

    Tort liability in personal injury cases is most often based on acts of negligence, but there are exceptions. Sometimes the responsible party is held to the strict liability tort standard, meaning that a finding of negligence or malicious intent is not required. The most common types of strict liability tort cases are based on: Product […]

    Read More
  • student injured at school - parents suing for negligence

    Suing a School for Negligence: What You Need to Know

    A negligence-based lawsuit against a school can have unique complications, depending on the type of institution it is. Overall, teachers, school administrators, and other staff have a “duty of care,” meaning they must take reasonable steps to avoid and prevent circumstances likely to cause personal injury to a student. Some reasons you might want to […]

    Read More
  • a stereotypical biker who could be unfairly blamed for motorcycle accident

    California Bill Could Have Ended Motorcycle Profiling

    In February of this year, a bill was introduced by Assembly Member Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) that would have made it illegal for law enforcement officials to engage in “motorcycle profiling.” The successful passing of this bill likely would have had a significant impact on future California motorcycle accident cases. Co-authored by Speaker Pro Tempore Kevin Mullin (D-South […]

    Read More
  • Sacramento Office
  • 333 University Avenue, Suite 200
  • Sacramento, CA
  • (916) 756-0772
  • Roseville Office
  • 1544 Eureka Road, Suite 120
  • Roseville, CA
  • (916) 788-1960
  • Oakland Office
  • 1300 Clay St, Suite 600
  • Oakland, CA
  • (510) 962-4610

© 2019 Penney Law, Serving the Areas of Sacramento, Roseville, Fairfield, Modesto, Stockton & Oakland California