BOSTON (WWLP) – The Joint Committee on Transportation hosted a hearing to discuss several pieces of legislation, including one that would update the state’s “Move Over Law”.

The “Move Over Law” requires drivers to slow down and change lanes to avoid emergency vehicles. The updated legislation would increase penalties for ignoring the law.

Before the committee are bills related to protecting pedestrians and bicycle riders. Prior to the hearing on Tuesday, the State Police Association of Massachusetts, elected officials, and allies will be gathering to discuss this life-saving legislation and highlight the impact this has on Troopers, other first responders, and their families, according to a news release from Shawmut.  

The Move Over Law took effect in 2009, this requires drivers to slow down and change lanes if they are approaching an emergency vehicle or maintenance vehicle on the side of the road. Currently, failure to comply results in a $100 dollar fine.

Trooper Thomas Devlin’s Family was there to tell his story. Devlin ultimately died from injuries inflicted in a crash on the side of the road that could have been prevented. Nancy Devlin, Widow of Trooper Thomas Devlin, telling 22News, “We’re just going to make it our mission to put ourselves out there to spread the word to slow down and move over so that honestly – I , we’ve been through a nightmare and I would not wish this on anybody its been horrible.”

Tuesday’s press conference was two fold, it was to get the message out about the move over law and to also lobby for the bill before the Joint Committee on Transportation. The updated Move Over Law would stiffen penalties for motorists who do not comply.

The first offense would be a $250 fine, $500 for a second offense, and a third offense would result in a fine of $1,000. If violation resulted in injury that would result in a fine up to $2,500 or time in the house of corrections.

“We all need to take a personal action and accountability in ourselves to slow down and move over, slow down and move over,” said Patrick McNamara, President of the State Police Association of Massachusetts

Advocates are hoping that the increase in fines will deter people from distracted driving. At the press conference Tuesday, District Attorney Marian Ryan said that being struck on the side of the road is the leading cause of death in law enforcement.

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