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Expanded ‘move over, slow down’ law passes General Assembly


Expanded ‘move over, slow down’ law passes General Assembly

Jun 07, 2023 | 3:46 pm ET
By Christopher Shea
Expanded ‘move over, slow down’ law passes General Assembly
A bill that would require motorists to move over a lane to give a safety buffer to broken down vehicles passed through the General Assembly on June 6. (Photo by Alex Potemkin/Getty Images)

PROVIDENCE — See a car stopped in the breakdown lane? Rhode Island drivers could soon be required to either move over a lane or slow down when passing it — much like when an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road.

The Rhode Island House of Representatives on Tuesday passed legislation to expand the state law to include any vehicle on the side of the highway. The measure was unanimously passed through the Senate on May 11.

“Being on the side of the roadway is dangerous for everyone,” House bill sponsor Rep. Raymond Hull, a Providence Democrat, said in a statement. “By expanding this law, we’re protecting all motorists and passengers who find themselves in disabled vehicles on the roadside.”

A survey by AAA, which has approached the General Assembly to pass the legislation, found that 97% of motorists are concerned about vehicles passing at high speeds when they are stopped on the side of the road.

“It’s a great highway safety bill,” Sen. David Tikoian, a Smithfield Democrat who sponsored the Senate legislation, said in an interview Tuesday. “It’s going to protect a lot of families.”

Tikoian added that AAA Northeast does intend to put out an educational campaign on the new rules should they take effect.

With the passage, Rhode Island is on track to become the 12th state to expand its “move over” protections, joining Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Virginia.

The legislation now heads to Gov. Dan McKee’s desk for his signature. Olivia DaRocha, spokesperson for McKee’s office, said in an email Wednesday that “the governor will review the details of the legislation if and when it reaches his desk.”