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Maryland’s Move Over Law

Enacted in 2010, and revised in 2014, Maryland’s Move Over Law is one you may not be familiar with, but you need to be.

What is the Maryland Move Over Law?

The law was aimed at making the roads safer for emergency personnel, like police officers and firefighters, who are working on the road. The law requires that drivers who are approaching an emergency vehicle using visual signals while stopped on a highway to change into a different lane, and not pass immediately adjacent to the stopped emergency vehicle.

Drivers should only attempt a lane change if they can do so safely, another lane in the same direction exists, and they do not impede other traffic to do so. If drivers cannot move away from the emergency vehicle, they should “slow to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe for existing weather, road, and vehicular or pedestrian traffic conditions.”

Definition of Emergency Vehicles Under Maryland Law

Maryland law defines emergency vehicles as:

  • Vehicles belonging to federal, state, or local law enforcement agencies;
  • Volunteer fire companies, rescue squads, fire departments, ambulances, Maryland Fire and Rescue Institute, and the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services;
  • Any state vehicles designed by the Commissioner of Corrections for emergency purposes or used in response to hazardous materials or oil spills;
  • Any other emergency or rescue vehicles funded by federal, state, or local government.

Violation of the law will set you back $110 and one point on your license. If there is a crash, the fine is $150 and three points. If there is an injury or someone dies, the fine is $750 with three points added to your license.

Similar Law

There is another law in Maryland that is quite similar the “Move Over” law, but deals with bicyclists, motor scooters, and electric personal assistive mobility devices (EPAMD). This law requires that anyone attempting to overtake one of these vehicles must pass safely at a distance of not less than three feet. There are exceptions to the law, such as when the operator is not obeying the law, is responsible for creating a clearance of less than three feet, or the highway is not wide enough for any vehicle to pass with more than three feet. Drivers also have to yield to a bicycle, motor scooter, or EPAMD that is lawfully within a designed bike lane or shoulder if the driver is about to enter or cross the bike lane.

Violation of the law is one point and $80, and if the violation includes a traffic crash, the fine is $120 and three points on your license.

Move Over Laws in Maryland News

The Move Over laws are being talked about recently after a tow truck driver was killed in Cecil County this summer. A vehicle traveling on I-95 lost control, hitting the tow truck, a pedestrian, and another vehicle. The tow truck driver was also a member of the Community Fire Company of Perryville.

Starting in October, drivers in Washington County especially need to be aware of this law as the sheriff will be ticketing those who do not slow down or move to another lane when passing an emergency vehicle as defined above. This announcement came in conjunction with a visit from “The Spirit,” a ceremonial casket designed to honor first responders and tow truck drivers who are killed by unsafe passing vehicles. It carries the message, “Slow Down, Move Over.”

Have You Been Involved in an Accident?

If you have been involved in an auto accident and it was not your fault, you need to speak with a qualified Charles County personal injury attorney. The attorneys at the Law Office of Robert R. Castro are experts at handling Maryland auto accidents. Contact us at (301) 804-2312 for a free consultation.

Do Not Disturb While Driving Feature Launching on Apple iOS 11

September 19 is the release date for Apple’s iOS 11, which includes an interesting new addition – a “do not disturb while driving” feature. As texting while driving still continues to be a problem, Apple is hoping to improve safety, which hopefully reduces the number of accidents caused by distracted drivers. Of course, Apple is also hoping to remove any potential liability against them for these accidents, as well.

What Does the Do Not Disturb While Driving Mode on iOS 11 Do?

The new feature on iOS 11 is designed to block texts, incoming calls, and even notifications. It is essentially an expansion of the current Do Not Disturb feature on iPhones, and it can be set to come on automatically, only when connected to car’s Bluetooth, or you can turn it on manually.

When Do Not Disturb When Driving mode is set to automatic, the iPhone detects you are in a moving vehicle and enables the mode. This could be annoying if you are really a passenger and not the driver, so there is an option to toggle it off in this instance. When the mode is set to Bluetooth, it turns on the feature when your phone is connected to the vehicle’s Bluetooth. If you need to turn it on manually, there is also an option in the Control Center.

When the mode is enabled, it mutes incoming phone calls, text messages, notifications, and the phone screen stays dark. You can program or use an auto message to your contacts if they message you. If there is an emergency, the phone will let a text come through that includes a second “urgent” response.

Parents of driving-age children will rejoice in the added feature that prevents teenagers from changing Do Not Disturb settings so you can help ensure your teenager is free of at least one distraction while on the road.

Stats on Distracted Driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released their latest statistics on distracted driving, which cover accidents from 2015. They concluded:

  • 10% of fatal crashes, 15% of injury crashes, and 14% of all police-reported motor vehicle traffic crashes were reported as distraction related
  • 3,477 people were killed and 391,000 estimated more were injured in accidents involving distracted drivers
  • 9% of all drivers 15-19 years of age involved in fatal crashes were distracted at the time of the crash
  • 15-19-year-old drivers are the largest contributor to the stats on distracted drivers at the time of fatal crashes
  • 551 pedestrian, bicyclists, and others were killed in distraction-affected crashes

When to Call a Maryland Personal Injury Attorney

If you were injured as a result of a driver distracted by a cell phone or something else at the time of the incident, it is important to speak with a qualified Charles County personal injury attorney. The team at the Law Office of Robert. R. Castro is ready and able to help you with your Maryland or Washington D.C. accident. Contact us at 310-804-2312 today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

For Maryland Injury Lawyers:

What is Mediation and is it Right for Your Case?

Mediation is a voluntary method of dispute resolution that has existed for many years. As opposed to arbitration, mediation is not binding on the parties involved. It is a tool designed to talk over the issues and try to reach an agreement without proceeding further into litigation.

Mediation only happens when parties agree to it. A trained mediator is brought in to help try to reach a settlement in a legal matter. They are often utilized in personal injury matters, as well as labor union disputes and family law matters. The mediator is an impartial third party who helps preside over the conference in an attempt to help both parties reach a resolution without going further into the litigation process.

What Happens During Mediation

In general, mediation is an informal hearing that starts off with discussing preliminary housekeeping points, like that whatever is said during a mediation is not later admissible in court. This gives you the ability to speak freely and discuss issues without worrying that something will come back to haunt you down the line if the matter goes to court. You will likely be asked to sign a mediation agreement.

If you are the one who is bringing the case, you (or your attorney) will have the ability to speak first and explain your side of the case and how you feel it should be resolved. The opposing side also shares their side of the case and how they feel the matter should be resolved. Additional back and forth discussion may take place together, or sometimes a mediator may separate the parties. It sometimes depends on the mediator’s style and also how the mediation itself is proceeding.

Often times, the mediator separates both parties in order to discuss with each party the weaknesses they perceive in their case. The mediator may walk you through their own experience with similar cases and how they have generally concluded in court. The idea is to make each side understand the challenges they face by not settling in mediation and continuing on with litigation.

For cases that are already in litigation, the court may require mediation at some point in an attempt to settle the matter without setting a trial date.

Preparing for Mediation

One of the most important ways to prep for a mediation is to prepare yourself mentally. Some people get emotional, which is understandable when you are discussing a traumatic event, but it can also derail or slow progress during mediation.

Be sure you come prepared – ensure you have given your attorney all the necessary records and information needed to prove your case and support why you are asking for the dollar amount in question.

Try to be realistic and listen to what your attorney and the mediator think. If the mediator points out a lot of holes in your case and your attorney has already recommended settlement, drawing the matter out in a lengthy litigation process may cause you to wind up with a smaller settlement.

Call a Maryland Car Accident Attorney

If you have been involved in an injury accident, you need a qualified Maryland personal injury attorney. Contact the Law Office of Robert R. Castro at 301-705-5253 today for a free consultation to discuss your case.