Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement
Kentuckians told to 'move over' for emergency vehicles

Press Release Date:  Saturday, July 02, 2005  
Contact Information:  Bobby Clue
Information Officer

When emergency personnel ask the public to give them a break they do not mean a broken bone.

Move Over Kentucky is a law that Kentuckians are just getting to hear more about. Public service announcements reminding drivers to buckle up, slow down and move over have been seen and heard in recent weeks.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has been placing signs up across the state warning motorists to move over.

"These signs will play a vital role in protecting law enforcement and emergency service personnel throughout the state," said Kentucky State Police Commissioner Mark L. Miller. "It's something we owe to these dedicated professionals who provide a valuable public service."

Amending a law, in effect since July 2000, the new law is designed to give emergency vehicles a safety buffer from moving vehicle traffic when emergency vehicles are stopped, Move Over Kentucky also makes it mandatory for a motorist to move over for emergency vehicles approaching from either direction.

KRS 189.930 (1) instructs motorists that when they are within 500 feet of an emergency vehicle that is exhibiting an audible siren, whistle or bell and flashing red or blue lights "the driver of every other vehicle shall yield the right-of-way, immediately drive to a position parallel to, and as close as possible to, the edge or curb of the highway clear of any intersection, and stop and remain in such a position until the emergency vehicle has passed, except when otherwise directed by a police officer or firefighter."

Road conditions are one of the things emergency personnel have to take into account when they are overtaking a vehicle in an emergency.

"We know it is hard to find a safe spot to pull out of our way on some of these roads," said Augusta Fire Chief Ken Weissman.

He has had his share of run-ins with drivers who did not seem to know the law.

"With the law the way it is now, we could enforce it; we just have not done it yet," said Weissman. "I have had some (drivers) who just would not let us past them, for whatever reason."

Emergency personnel need room to work when they are stopped. Stationary emergency vehicles are usually positioned in a way that is prescribed by department protocols and in the best interest of safety for the emergency personnel, said Sgt. Leo McKay training officer for Maysville Police Department.

"Police officers have learned to position their vehicles for safety. A vehicle may hit the cruiser before they could hit an officer at a traffic stop," said McKay.

In section 5 of the statute motorists are told to give emergency personnel that are in stationary positions (ie: traffic stop, accident or fire scenes) as much room as possible by using other lanes.

"Yield the right-of-way by moving to a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if: The person is driving on a highway having at least four lanes with not fewer than two lanes proceeding in the same direction; and 2. If it is possible to make the lane change with due regard to safety and traffic conditions; or reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed to road conditions, if changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe."

The statute does not relieve the person driving an emergency vehicle from their duty to operate the vehicle with regard for safety of all persons using the highway.