BISMARCK — Highway drivers in North Dakota may soon be required to shift over a lane or slow down when they see any kind of vehicle sitting in the shoulder with its flashers on.
State law dictates that drivers on interstates and multi-lane highways must move over a lane or slow down for police cars, ambulances and other emergency vehicles, but lawmakers are considering a bill that would expand the so-called “slow down, move over” law to all disabled vehicles on the side of the road.
The Republican-led House of Representatives voted 88-5 on Tuesday, Jan. 17, to advance House Bill 1141. The proposal sponsored by Rep. Austen Schauer, R-West Fargo, will go to the Senate when the chambers swap passed legislation in March.
The legislation would impose a $20 fine but no points against drivers’ licenses if they are caught failing to move over or slow down for a disabled vehicle on a North Dakota highway, said bill carrier Rep. Scott Wagner, R-Fargo.
“The current law protects vehicles, not the driver or the passenger of the vehicle,” Wagner said. “House Bill 1141 is simple. If you see flashing lights on a vehicle — any vehicle — sitting on the side of an interstate or multilane highway in North Dakota, move over a lane or slow down to a safe speed to provide a buffer of safety to the occupants of that vehicle.”
The House Transportation Committee heard testimony last week from Joshua Edwards, a Killdeer paramedic who was struck by a passing pickup truck in 2021 while trying to help an injured victim of a vehicle rollover. Edwards said he recovered from the injury and returned to work, but the psychological trauma inflicted by incident will stay with him for life.
“I believe that our current ‘Slow Down, Move Over’ law statute does not clearly state expectations and should include personal vehicles and penalties,” Edwards said.
No one spoke in opposition to the bill.
Source : Inforum