Proposal seeks to toughen Virginia’s Move Over law

Updated: Jan. 8, 2019 at 11:38 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Lawmakers returning to the General Assembly Wednesday will have a lot of proposals to review, and one of them aims to toughen Virginia’s Move Over Law.

The wife of a Hanover firefighter lieutenant killed while responding to a vehicle accident last year is on a mission.

"I’m just taking it day by day,” Melanie Clark said, doing whatever it takes to save others from experiencing her pain.

It’s been nearly three months since her Hanover firefighter husband, Lt. Brad Clark was killed. He was responding to an accident on I-295, when a tractor-trailer hit his fire engine. Now, Clark is calling for changes to Virginia’s Move Over law.

"Kind of give it some teeth. Right now, it's hard to enforce,” she said.

Right now, if you see emergency vehicles on the side of the road and fail to move over, you can be hit with a $250 ticket.

Clark wants to see that changed to make failing to move over a misdemeanor offense with more penalties. Now, there’s a bill headed to lawmakers that seeks to do just that.

"What we’ve seen recently is an uptick with distracted driving ... just in the last several months, we’ve seen multiple several troopers hit. We’ve had fatalities, certainly, in Hanover County particularly, but statewide,” Del. Chris Peace said.

He is sponsoring House Bill 1911, under the proposal that any driver who fails to move over would be charged with reckless driving.

That comes with up to a year in jail or a $2,500 fine.

"It’s certainly reckless to disregard blatantly our first responders, our public safety personnel, our VDOT workers on the highway when they’re serving the public good,” Peace said.

"They talk about close calls on the interstate, even today … Even the citizens who break down on the side of the street, they are vulnerable,” Clark said.

Clark also wants to see young drivers tested about moving over before they’re able to even get a driver’s license.

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