Why it’s important to move over on the road for workers with amber lights
In South Dakota, the move over law is important to follow, largely to keep officers safe
RAPID CITY, S.D. – While Rapid City Police officers helped with a three-vehicle crash in the westbound lane of Elk Vale Road, a fourth vehicle rear-ended a patrol car that had on emergency amber signals.
The suspect exited his vehicle and began running from the location of the accident. The officer of the crashed car was able to get out and chase the suspect.
“We had some folks that were at a nearby business who witnessed what was happening too and were ready and willing to jump into action to help our officers. So, I want to give them a shout out as well,” said Brendyn Medina, community relations specialist of the Rapid City Police Department (RCPD).
The suspect was identified as Russell Timms, 38, of Black Hawk. He was arrested for a “DUI (2nd), Hit and Run – Injury Accident, No Proof of Insurance, Obstruction and a Probation Violation.”
The Move Over Law requires drivers to move over and slow down when passing any vehicle displaying amber or yellow flashing signals or lights.
“Any vehicle displaying amber lights, that could include emergency vehicles or even tow trucks,” Medina said. “Once you see those operating on the side of the road, it is South Dakota law that you have to move over to the lane furthest from those emergency vehicles operating on the side of the road. If it’s a one land or you have no ability to move over and give them a lane of space, then you have to slow to 20 miles an hour below the speed limit, and that’s just there to protect the safety of these positions that have to work during active traffic on the side of a busy road.”
The law also includes that drivers stop when coming from any direction and approaching any stopped authorized emergency vehicles using red visual lights.
Other than a few bumps and bruises, the officer in the crash wasn’t significantly hurt. This shows that it is important to move over for officers, for both the law and for officers’ safety.
“Any time this happens, it’s one too many times. So we work very hard to create a safety situation there on the side of the road by alerting drivers ahead of time with our flashing lights that they need to be moving over ahead of a crash, and in this case, the person was also an impaired driver,” Medina said. “It also prompts, the idea that if you have been drinking, always designate a sober ride, and so you can do that by calling a friend or family member, utilizing a taxi or even a rideshare service.”
Because a RCPD officer was involved, the crash was handed over to the Pennington County Sheriff’s Office to preserve the integrity of the investigation.