In Virginia, Stopped Emergency Vehicles Have the Protection of the Law

Partly in response to a rash of accidents nationwide, the state of Virginia recently passed a “Slow Down, Move Over” law that requires drivers to behave extra-carefully when passing emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. Most first-time violations of this law will result in a mere ticket, but an especially egregious offense can result in a charge of reckless driving—which is why it's important to consult an experienced traffic lawyer from Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC.

The “Slow Down, Move Over” Law Is Intended to Protect Emergency Personnel

Most Virginians know that they are required to yield the right of way to emergency vehicles, such as fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances—but they're probably not aware that a recent law applies to stopped emergency vehicles. Under Virginia's “Slow Down, Move Over” law, drivers are required to do everything they can not to interfere with, collide with, or endanger emergency vehicles that have pulled over to the side of the road. An especially flagrant violation of this law can result in a citation for reckless driving, a conviction for which entails:

  • Thousands of dollars' worth of fines
  • Up to a year in jail
  • Possible suspension or revocation of your driver's license
  • Six points added to your driving record

The “Slow Down, Move Over” law has different provisions that apply to four-lane and two-lane roads. On a four-lane road (i.e., a thoroughfare with two lanes going one way and two lanes the other), the driver must slow down and attempt, if possible, to move into the leftmost lane when passing a stopped emergency vehicle; on a two-lane road, slowing down to an appropriate speed is enough to stay within the limits of the law.

A Violation of the “Slow Down, Move Over” Law Can Land You in Serious Trouble

The state of Virginia takes the health and safety of its employees very seriously, which is why it passed the “Slow Down, Move Over” law. If you are ticketed for disobeying this law, a judge or district attorney may not be inclined to look very kindly on your case, which is why you need to speak with an experienced criminal and traffic attorney from Jarrell, Hicks & Waldman, PC right away. Call now for a free consultation!