MSP reminds drivers of Move-Over Law

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — After a trooper was hit and killed while conducting a traffic stop on the side of a road, Michigan State Police are reminding drivers of a law that requires them to slow down and move over when police vehicles are parked with their lights activated on the road.

The Move-Over Law was implemented in 2018 and “requires motorists to slow down to at least 10 mph below the posted speed limit and move over for stationary authorized vehicles with flashing, rotating, or oscillating lights activated,” according to MSP.

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“If you have to slow down to 20, 15 miles per hour, almost come to a stop on the expressway, we ask that you do that so you can safely get around that incident,” said Lt. Michelle Robinson with Michigan State Police. “Whether they have a mindset of ‘It isn’t going to happen to me,’ or they believe that they are a good driver, we can’t stress enough to have individuals slow down and be aware of surroundings at all times.”

This includes authorized emergency police, firetrucks, ambulances, road service vehicles like tow trucks and Michigan Department of Transportation vehicles, solid waste haulers, utility service vehicles and road maintenance vehicles.

Robinson said drivers who don’t follow that law will at least be given a citation. Fines and/or jail time are possible if events lead to something even more dangerous.

The reminder comes days after MSP trooper Joel Popp was hit and killed while performing a traffic stop on the side of a road in Saginaw County. Popp marks the sixth MSP trooper since 1994 to be killed on the side of the road while performing duties, police said. That number does not include deputies, officers and agents under different law enforcement agencies.

Robinson says six is still too many.

“I, myself, have been on the side of the expressway, helping somebody change a flat tire,” she said. “People are going so fast that it’ll blow your hat off.”

In Van Buren County, a stretch of I-94 is named after Trooper Rick Johnson, who was killed in 2000 while on the side of the road during a traffic stop, MSP said.

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On Jan. 10, a trooper was hit and injured when a teen driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel hit his cruiser on the side of the road in Clarkston.

“Please help us protect our troopers,” said F/Lt. Scott Ernstes, commander of the Paw Paw Post. “We need everyone to move over for emergency vehicles. Moving over when you see an emergency vehicle seems simple, but it can save a life.”

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