House approves Zorn bill enhancing ‘move over’ law

Sen. Dale Zorn

Sen. Dale Zorn

LANSING, Mich. — The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved Sen. Dale Zorn’s legislation that would require drivers to slow down and move over when approaching a vehicle with amber flashing lights.

“Stopping on the side of a road or highway and getting out of a vehicle is dangerous and even deadly,” said Zorn, R-Ida. “That is why Michigan already requires drivers to take safety precautions in construction areas and when passing a stopped police car or ambulance with their lights on.

“This reform would increase safety and save lives by forcing drivers to take the same care around vehicles with amber flashing lights, such as a utility vehicle or tow truck.”

Drivers in Michigan are currently required to move over a lane to the left if there is a stationary authorized emergency vehicle with flashing red, blue or white lights on the side of the road. If the road does not have a passing lane, or if moving over is impossible, then a driver shall pass with due care and caution at a reduced and safe speed.

Senate Bill 477 would add vehicles with flashing amber lights to the current law and require drivers to slow down by a least 10 miles per hour when approaching and passing a stopped emergency vehicle.

Zorn said that in 2017 a tow truck driver on I-94 near Ypsilanti was hit by a van while assisting a disabled vehicle. The tow truck was parked on the shoulder with its amber emergency lights on.

“Tow truck drivers should not have to risk serious injury or death when they are helping a stranded motorist on a highway,” Zorn said. “The message is clear: if you see a vehicle ahead with flashing lights — whether it’s a police car, fire truck or tow truck — slow down and, if possible, move over.”