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Governor signs 'move over' bill

By Gordon Y.K. Pang

LAST UPDATED: 5:14 a.m. HST, Jul 11, 2012

Gov. Neil Abercrombie Tuesday morning signed into law a bill requiring motorists to move over a lane or at least slow down when approaching stopped emergency vehicles.

Hawaii was the only state in the union to not have a "move over" bill and previous attempts to pass such a law stalled in the state Legislature. But the deaths of Honolulu police officers Eric Fontes and Garret Davis while on traffic stops on Oahu highways in the last year played a crucial role in creating momentum for House Bill 2030 this past session.

The final form of the bill requires motorists to make a lane change away from a parked emergency vehicle where necessary and safe to do so, or to at the very least “slow down to a reasonable and prudent speed that is safe under the circumstances of an emergency road situation ahead.”

An emergency vehicle is defined as a vehicle belonging to the police, fire, ocean safety, emergency medical services and freeway service patrol agencies, as well as tow trucks.

While Abercrombie urged motorists to turn in people who violate the new law, supporters of the measure said that creating awareness to the dangers faced by emergency responders on a daily basis was the biggest impact of the bill.

The law went into effect upon the governor’s signature.

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