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Ask a cop: What is the 'Move Over' law?


Editor’s note: Every week a Lake Oswego police officer answers your questions in this space. Send questions to Reporter Cliff Newell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call him at 503-636-1281, ext. 105.

What is the ‘Move Over’ law?

On average, 1.25 police officers are struck and killed by vehicles along the highways each and every month. That is 138 husbands, wives, fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters who have been lost between 2003 and 2012. And, in just one five-year period, 130 tow operators were killed while in service activities along the highway. Many more were struck, but not killed.

The “Move Over” law (ORS 811.147) was passed in January 2010. The “Move Over” law requires that anyone driving on a public road within the boundaries of the state of Oregon with two lanes or more in a single direction must change lanes if they are coming upon a stopped emergency vehicle, roadside assistance vehicle, tow truck or ambulance. If a driver is not able to safely change lanes due to heavy traffic, then the driver in the lane next to the emergency vehicle, roadside assistance vehicle, tow vehicle or ambulance must reduce their speed by at least five miles per hour under the posted or designated speed limit. If you are traveling on a two-lane highway with one lane in each direction, you must also reduce your speed by 5 miles per hour under the posted or designated speed limit for any emergency or roadside assistance vehicle displaying the required flashing warning lights.

Just remember: If you see warning lights of any kind, pull into the next lane if it is safe to do so. If not, slow down. Failure to maintain a safe distance from an emergency, roadside assistance or tow vehicle is a Class B traffic violation and will result in a fine of $260, or $400 if the location is within a safety corridor, school zone or work zone.

— Officer Denton Veach, Lake Oswego Police Department