Local Drivers Put to "Move Over" Test - WSET.com - ABC13

Local Drivers Put to "Move Over" Test

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Reporter:  Carleigh Griffeth

Amherst, VA-  There's a law that is supposed to prevent accidents like Wednesday's on Route 29.  Not all states have one, but Virginia does.

The law makes it illegal to pass emergency vehicles on the side of the road, without trying to put as much space between you and it as possible.

That means, you have to move over.

We put drivers in our area to the test.

We had a deputy pull over one of our reporters for a demonstration of what can happen.  The camera was rolling, and what we saw was shocking.

Car after car, choosing to stay in the right lane, instead of moving over.  Drivers are overlooking, and disobeying the law.  Specifically Virginia's slow down, move over law. It says, "Drivers to yield right-of-way or reduce speed when approaching stationary emergency vehicles on highways."

Either drivers don't know about it, or they are forgetting about it.  These days, drivers have so many distractions. There are radios, phones, GPS systems. Or there could be a commotion on the side of the road that looks interesting.

"And obviously if you're interested more in that than you are driving, people tend to drift. And people are drawn to get a closer look," said Lieutenant Chad Ward.

And that's exactly what officers say to avoid.

"But the public, they need to be vigilant and attentive as well," said Sergeant James Hopkins.

Because if drivers aren't attentive, tragedy could happen. A tragedy like Wednesday's. Tragedies that weigh on officers' minds every day.

"I mean you just never know. From one day to the next," said Hopkins.

"You just never know what's coming up behind you," said Ward.

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