Move Over—It’s an Indiana Law

May 17, 2017 / Vehicle Accidents

Sometimes working for an EMS (emergency services) organization can carry risks that you, as the average motorist, might not have thought about. Did you ever consider that, if you didn’t move out of the way of an emergency vehicle, or move away from an area where emergency services are being offered, you could cause a deadly accident—and that the death might even be your own?

On February 16, 2013, two EMS medics died in Indianapolis because a driver who was distracted by their GPS system hit the ambulance. In 2017, Indianapolis EMS remembered Tim McCormick and Cody Medley, both of whom had been in their twenties, on their Facebook page, honoring their memory.

During April, 2017, an Indianapolis EMS ambulance was in a wreck because of a car that did not stop at a stop sign. The crash, which happened on Ritter Avenue near Indy’s Community East Hospital, sent three persons—two EMTs and the driver of the car—to Eskenazi Hospital with injuries. The patient inside the ambulance, who was on their way to Community East, was taken to the hospital by a different ambulance.

National Statistics for Ambulance Crashes

In 1974, President Ford established National EMS Week in recognition of the valuable work those in the EMS system do every hour of the day, every day of the year. From May 21 through 27, 2017, we celebrate the 43rd year of recognition for those who respond to our medical emergencies, often by putting themselves at great risk.

According to the data that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) collected using its Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) between 1992 and 2011, here’s what we know about ambulance crashes:

  • Around 4,500 crashes involve an ambulance each year.
  • A little more than one-third—34 percent—of these wrecks create injuries.
  • Every year, about 33 individuals die in ambulance crashes.
  • Those inside the ambulance, including patients being transported, die in 21 percent of crashes.
  • In 63 percent of crashes involving an ambulance, fatalities occur in the other vehicle.

The last data point means that those who may have caused the accident are most at risk of dying in it.

Indiana’s “Move Over” Laws

“Move Over” laws are meant to protect everyone—emergency responders, motorists, and others working along the roadway. The laws in our state require you, the driver, to behave as follows when you spot flashing lights while you are driving on a two- to four-lane road:

  • Change one full lane, if you can do so safely, when approaching stopped emergency vehicles or the scene of an emergency operation.
  • If you cannot change one full lane, drop your speed at least 10 mph below the posted limit and exercise due caution. However, do not stop in the road unless you absolutely must. Not stopping will help prevent “chain-reaction” accidents.
  • Plan ahead by keeping an eye out for ambulances, police vehicles, fire and rescue equipment, utility service vehicles, incident-response vehicles, maintenance vehicles, and tow trucks ahead of you. All of these vehicles require that you obey the “move over” laws.
  • Violators of the laws can be fined and have their license suspended for up to two years if you cause any damage, injuries, or death involving emergency vehicles and workers.

The next time you approach the scene of an emergency, for everyone’s well-being—including your own—obey Indiana’s “move over” laws and prevent needless injuries and deaths.

Serving Accident Victims in Indiana Since 1982.

When you are considering hiring a car accident lawyer, you should look for an attorney who will give you competent and compassionate representation with a “client first” approach. That’s exactly what you’ll get with proven advocate attorney Mike Stephenson. His entire legal team is committed to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the best possible outcome in your case.

If you think you might have a case, keep in mind that in Indiana there is a statute of limitations – or a deadline – for filing personal injury claims, so it is unwise to delay. If you were injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, whether from a reckless or speeding driver or some other situation, you deserve compensation. Don’t lose the opportunity to obtain the money you need to put your life back on track and to make your family’s future financially secure. Call Mike Stephenson at 1-317-825-5200 or contact us for immediate help.


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