A rental box truck is readied to be towed away from the inner loop of the Baltimore Beltway in September. Maryland law requires passing vehicles to either move over a lane or slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing such as a tow truck.
A rental box truck is readied to be towed away from the inner loop of the Baltimore Beltway in September. Maryland law requires passing vehicles to either move over a lane or slow down when approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing such as a tow truck. (Kenneth K. Lam)

The recent Baltimore Sun editorial, “Maryland’s ‘move over’ message is getting lost” (Oct. 1), got it completely right.

Maryland’s “move over” law was enacted in 2010 to protect Marylanders working along the roadway and has since been expanded to include a wider range of emergency and hazard vehicles. The law applies to both sides of the roadway, not just the shoulder on the right and includes tow trucks, construction vehicles, sanitation vehicles, highway maintenance vehicles, police vehicles, fire trucks and ambulances. The main crux of the law is that if an emergency vehicle is stopped on the side or shoulder of the road, approaching drivers must move over one lane before passing. If the driver is unable to move over one lane, they are required to slow down considerably while passing the stopped vehicle.

Advertisement

Maryland needs to take a modern approach to educating drivers about move over laws given the shocking lack of compliance with the law. There are new technologies available on the market — state-of-the-art vehicle recognition cameras — that affix to a first responder’s car or truck. This technology can capture violator’s vehicle information in real-time. Once these violators receive their first citation in the mail, you can be sure they’ll think twice about endangering an emergency responder again.

Fortunately, the Maryland House of Delegates began looking at photo enforcement of move over violations during the last legislative session given the clear value and ability to potentially save lives and as a practical way to correct the dangerous driving behaviors that are putting our first responders’ lives at risk. As we prepare for a new legislative session in January, now, more than ever, we need to enact legislation that would allow for these technologies to be used. We owe it to all the men and woman who serve and protect us every day. Now it’s time we protect them.

Paul A. Tiburzi, Baltimore

The writer is counsel to Rekor Recognition Systems, Inc.

Add your voice: Respond to this piece or other Sun content by submitting your own letter.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement