“Move Over” law expansion
extends safety protections
to non-police responders,
such as ITD worker

Another significant step to ensure employee safety on the roadsides was taken Wednesday (March 27) as the “Move Over” law expansion was signed into law by Governor Brad Little. The new law expands the “Move Over” law from 2006 to include responders to a roadside emergency, such as ITD workers and tow operators operating with flashing lights in a stationary position. The new law takes effect July 1.

The existing law already gives those protections to police by requiring motorists to move over for law enforcement operating with flashing lights.  Now they must move over for other emergency responders to traffic incidents, too, such as ITD's workers and tow truck operators.

The Federal Highway Administration defines it thusly: A traffic incident is an emergency road user occurrence, a natural disaster or other unplanned event that affects or impedes the normal flow of traffic.

ITD’s Incident Response unit in the Treasure Valley is an obvious beneficiary, but it also extends protections to our maintenance workers doing short-term duration operations such as removing animal carcasses or other objects from the road, filling potholes, fixing guardrail, and other common activities that benefit the safety and mobility of motorists.

“This expansion of the move over law will help everyone’s safety,” said longtime ITD Incident Response driver Jim Cherry. 

Cherry said that although the old law has been in effect for a long time, many drivers still fail to move over. “The public needs to be aware of this new law.”

Fellow Incident Response driver Kyle Wright said he values any space drivers afford him, which ultimately benefits drivers by expediting service.

“We really appreciate the courtesy of other drivers who slow down and move over to give us a safer space to do our jobs. That buffer of space makes a big difference for us,” he said.

“The less we have to worry about vehicles moving past us, the more we’re able to focus on the incidents we’re working on, and hopefully remedy them more safely and quickly.”

ITD’s leadership has repeatedly demonstrated that it is in favor of anything that improves employee safety.

Emergency Services Manager Neal Murphy spearheaded ITD's efforts this year to have the Move Over expansion considered by lawmakers. The bill was brought forward by Rep. John McCrostie of Boise.

Published 03-29-19