A new law is taking effect Friday requiring drivers to move over if they spot Highway Department vehicles, utility trucks, and tow trucks on the side of the road. The law adds to the familiar list of emergency vehicles like police cars.
It asks motorists to move over to the farthest possible lane, this requirement makes Arkansas’s law one of the toughest in the nation. Only three other states require that.
But Tony Sullivan, with the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department said the law is flexible in what it expects of motorists.
“Move over safely or slow down, one or the other. In some cases you may not be able to move over into an additional lane or an adjacent lane. But we would prefer, or the law requires, that you do that. But if you can’t do that at least slow down,” said Sullivan.
Although nearly every state has laws for motorists to move over for emergency vehicles, Arkansas is just the 10th state, according to the US Department of Transportation, to include utility and maintenance vehicles. Sullivan said the law is about protecting people providing services.
“Had been, I think, nationwide it was kind of the same effort to do this in other states in the last few years. Police officers maybe had been hit, people with emergency vehicles for picking up cars, like for wreckers and things like that, people who were trying to assist motorists for some reason or another were getting side-swiped or hit and people weren’t paying attention to them even though they had flashing lights,” said Sullivan.
Motorists who do not follow the law could face up to 3 months in jail, a $500 fine, and a suspended license.