Move Over law has teeth - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Move Over law has teeth

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April 17, 2006

Albany -- You see a police officer pulled over on the side of the road making a traffic stop, blue lights flashing. What should you do?

A Georgia law mandates drivers change lanes, if possible, to give the officer some room and slow down. Dougherty County Police say they're enforcing the law, but they've found few people have even heard about it. And, it comes with a whopping fine.

Police videos shows an officer plowed down while making a traffic stop. And there's a near miss for another officer, when a car hits the vehicle he pulled over. "You are more likely to be killed by a motorist than a bullet from someone," said Dougherty County Police Lt. Tommy Jackson.

Jackson says each year, public safety officers are killed during traffic stops by passing motorists. To reduce injuries and deaths, Georgia lawmakers passed the "Move Over" law last year.

"I want to get a message out here to let people know that they are required by law to move over. If they don't, we can stop them and write a citation," said Jackson.

The law requires drivers to change lanes if they safely can. If you can't, you should slow down and be ready to stop. DCP officers are writing tickets for violators. "Most of the people I stopped, aren't even aware of it. Or they make up excuse like 'We'll I could do this or I was going to get over but I didn't get over,'" said Jackson.

And the fines are hefty! "The fine through the state is $500 but it's my understanding in Dougherty County, it's up to $750."

Lt. Jackson says people are shocked to hear about the high fines, but he says the cost of driving recklessly can be deadly to Georgia's public safety officers.

The Governor's Office of Highway Safety also trains officers to be careful where they pull someone over, avoiding spots that are not visible to coming traffic.

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