House Bill 1750, sponsored by Representative Jonathan Barnett, was approved by Arkansas lawmakers and signed into law as Act 579 by Governor Mike Beebe during the 89th General Assembly. It requires drivers to move over not only for emergency vehicles, but vehicles owned by the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department and its contractors. The law also includes utility vehicles, tow trucks, or authorized vehicles displaying, blue, red, amber, white, or green lights that are flashing, revolving or rotating.
“The Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department started pushing to modify the existing law due to concern over the safety of our workers. We started hearing from other groups like electric utilities and tow truck operators who wanted protection as well. There was obviously a need, and we were happy to include them,” says Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department Director Scott Bennett.
If motorists see the described vehicles, they must move to the farthest possible lane or position from the authorized vehicle. If a driver can’t move over, he or she must reduce speed and exercise caution.
If a driver is found guilty of violating the law, they can be fined up to $500, confined to jail or both. The court may also order community service or suspend a person’s driver’s license up to six months.
“The safety of workers along our highways has always been a top priority at the Arkansas State Highway and Transportation Department. This new law will help ensure their well being,” says Bennett.
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