Maryland Motorists May Have to Move Over for Tow Trucks

The Free State is reportedly one of four states that does not protect tow truck drivers in its 'Move Over Law.'

Tow trucks could be considered emergency vehicles. (Credit: Glen Burnie Patch)
Tow trucks could be considered emergency vehicles. (Credit: Glen Burnie Patch)
Both the Maryland Senate and House are considering versions of a bill that would extend the state's "Move Over Law" to include tow trucks, ABC 2 News reports.

Maryland is one of four states in the nation that does not include tow trucks in its version of the "Move Over Law," according to The Baltimore Sun.

Since 2010, Maryland law has required drivers to allow one lane between them and emergency vehicles; and if that's not possible, they must "slow to a reasonable and prudent speed," according to the State Highway Administration.

According to the state, Maryland defines emergency vehicles as those owned by federal, state or local law enforcement agencies; fire companies, rescue squads and fire departments; or as ambulances and special vehicles for emergency or rescue purposes in Maryland.

Currently, drivers who violate the "Move Over Law" pay $110 and receive one point; if the violation results in a crash, $150 and three points; and $750 and three points if the crash causes injury or death.

The new bill proposes a $500 maximum fine for violations and a $750 fine if the violation results in death or serious bodily injury.

Tow truck companies are reportedly advocating for the "Move Over Law" to include language that would protect drivers if their lights are activated, citing two recent examples to back up the need for the measure.

In January, a distracted driver hit a tow truck on Interstate 795 while the operator was clearing a wreck, The Baltimore Sun reported. 

In August 2011, a tow truck driver was killed on Route 100 in Anne Arundel County when a vehicle sideswiped his truck as he was working on the lift controls, according to The Washington Post, which said it was a hit-and-run.

The Senate's version of the bill, sponsored by Senator Nancy Jacobs (R-Harford/Cecil) and Senator Bryan Simonaire (R-Anne Arundel) is scheduled for a hearing in the House on Tuesday.
John Cofiell March 26, 2014 at 12:51 AM
In Balto city the police never turn their lights off. Are you suppose to move over just because they are there meaning in traffic. I myself am ignoring police cars in traffic with lights on. I acknowledge sirens. Pulling over every time you see a police car,just because the overhead lights are on will cause more accidents
Richard March 26, 2014 at 08:50 AM
Are the police lights you are referring to, flashing or steady burn? In DC they have study burn lights on so that you can see them coming assuming you need to flag them down. They are not supposed to be flashing unless warranted. If they are, then the cops are probably violating there own rules.
Buck Harmon March 26, 2014 at 10:24 AM
Many tow truck drivers spend a portion of their day "running the roads" looking for work. I would hope that these laws would only be applied to verifiable emergency calls... not the regular scouting for work.
Alan Burdette Jr. April 07, 2014 at 07:54 PM
Any one person with any respect for any person " Working " on the side of the road, would give them some space I would hope weather there is a law or not.


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