Shoulder lanes are emergency stopping lanes that are reserved by the verge of a road and on the right side of the road. Shoulder lanes are typically not used by moving traffic, but instead used in the event of an emergency, such as a vehicle malfunctioning or becoming disabled. In some cases, tow providers may be en route to assist a driver of a disabled vehicle, or working on moving a disabled vehicle from the shoulder. Shoulder lanes also may be used by emergency vehicles, such as an ambulance or police cars, in order to bypass traffic. However, in some unfortunate incidents, shoulder lanes may become the scene of accidents.
According to a recent news report, a 22-year-old was fatally struck by a vehicle on I-95 in Maryland. A vehicle drove on the right side of the shoulder and struck a pedestrian who was outside of their tractor-trailer on the shoulder. The vehicle was disabled and parked on the shoulder with hazard lights on. It is unclear what caused the driver to travel out of lane three onto the shoulder.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety data found that among drivers who do not comply with Move Over laws at all times, 42 percent thought the behavior was somewhat or not dangerous at all to roadside emergency workers. In some instances, these shoulder lane accidents may occur because of distracted driving.
What is the Maryland Move Over Law?
In the state of Maryland, the law requires drivers to change lanes when approaching any stopped, standing, or parked vehicle displaying warning signals, which include hazard warning lights, road flares, or other caution signals. If it is not safe or feasible to move over, motorists must slow down to a reasonable and prudent speed. The law was changed on October 1, 2022, to make it a requirement for motorists to change lanes or slow down when approaching any stopped, standing, or parked vehicle displaying warning signs. Violation of the Move Over law in Maryland is a misdemeanor carrying a $110 fine and one point on the person’s license. However, if a death or serious injury results, the fine is $750 and three points. Maryland became the 8th state in the country to expand the move-over law to include any vehicle on the side of the road with its hazard lights on or having road flares put out. The move-over law is intended to keep motorists safe and to make motorists more aware of vehicles stopped on highway shoulders.
Have You Been Injured in a Maryland Car Accident?
If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident in the Prince George’s, Baltimore, Charles, or Montgomery County region, the attorneys at Lebowitz & Mzhen are ready to help you recover the damages you deserve. Expenses from a motor vehicle accident can quickly add up and become a stressor, but having an experienced team of lawyers by your side can truly make a difference. Our attorneys have successfully represented injury victims at every stage of the process. If you have questions about your case, call us today at 800-654-1949 and schedule a free and no-obligation initial consultation with a Maryland personal injury lawyer at our office.