Slow Down Move Over Law: Have You Virginians Heard Of It?

I keep hearing about people who have been ticketed by Police for  this little known law.  I can tell you that police officers are actively enforcing the Slow Down Move Over Law.

The law, violation of which is a Class 1 Misdemeanor reads like this:

§ 46.2-921.1. Drivers to yield right-of-way or reduce speed when approaching stationary emergency vehicles on highways; penalties.

The driver of any motor vehicle, upon approaching a stationary emergency vehicle, as defined in § 46.2-920, that is displaying a flashing, blinking, or alternating emergency light or lights as provided in §§ 46.2-1022, 46.2-1023, and 46.2-1024, shall (i) on a highway having at least four lanes, at least two of which are intended for traffic proceeding as the approaching vehicle, proceed with caution and, if reasonable, with due regard for safety and traffic conditions, yield the right-of-way by making a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that occupied by the stationary emergency vehicle or (ii) if changing lanes would be unreasonable or unsafe, proceed with due caution and maintain a safe speed for highway conditions.

Violation of any provision of this section shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the violation resulted in damage to property of another person, the court may, in addition, order the suspension of the driver's privilege to operate a motor vehicle for not more than one year. If the violation resulted in injury to another person, the court may, in addition to any other penalty imposed, order the suspension of the driver's privilege to operate a motor vehicle for not more than two years. If the violation resulted in the death of another person, the court may, in addition to any other penalty imposed, order the suspension of the driver's privilege to operate a motor vehicle for two years.

In layman's terms, if you are on a highway and see an officer or other emergency vehicle pulled over on the side of the road, you are required to move from the adjacent lane to one away from the stopped vechicle if moving is a reasonable and safe option. police officer

My daughter finished her classroom Driver's Ed a year and a half ago and was licensed within the last 10 months. Yet, this law was never mentioned to the students. From what I was able to find on line, this law  was written about in 2007 and according to the article,
Virginia: Unknown Traffic Violation Carries $2500 Fine it has been in effect since 2002. Surely, young drivers (and the rest of us) should be told about this it?

Unless you have been ticketed for this, how many of you have heard of it?

I am not arguing against the law--I think it is long overdue.  But why hasn't their been a public information campaign to let us know how the law expects us to behave in this situation?

Kudos to Virginia for looking out for our Police Officers, but what about letting us know about new laws that impact our day-to-day driving?  It makes me wonder what other laws are out there that I am unknowingly violating?


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Comment balloon 4 commentsHolly Weatherwax • September 09 2009 10:51AM


Sorry I do not know the Violation # but here in Calif. a friend of mine got ticketed by a police officer for not slowing down as he passed an officer who had on his lights and was on a motorcycle.  He got off to pick up something he had dropped and my friend was 2 lanes over from him and not speeding.

Posted by Tim Lorenz, 949 874-2247 (TIM LORENZ - Elite Home Sales Team) about 9 years ago

We have a similar law here in NC and I have been truly impressed how everyone seems to obey it.

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) about 9 years ago

I always slow down * there may be someone who runs into the road or does not look when moving a vehicle....

Posted by Wallace S. Gibson, CPM, LandlordWhisperer (Gibson Management Group, Ltd.) about 9 years ago

Good reminder to slow down.  I think it is courteous to move over anytime someone is stopped on the side of the road.  Too many people have been killed standing on the side of the highway, especially consctruction workers.  Just takes a few seconds to save a life. 

Posted by Brian Griffis (Realty Choice) about 9 years ago

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