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Now It's the Law: Slow Down and Move Over

NEWBURYPORT, Mass. -- A new law went into effect yesterday that will require drivers who spot emergency response vehicles in the breakdown lane of state highways to slow down and move over.

It may sound like common sense, but under the Move it Over Law, motorists will be required, if they can safely do so, to change lanes so that they are not immediately adjacent to emergency vehicles. Failure to do so could result in a $100 fine.

Along with emergency vehicles, such as ambulances or police cars, the new law applies to highway maintenance vehicles and recovery trucks.

Local state police troopers said last week the idea was about time, since they had survived close calls in the past. Troopers said the close calls happen more often than one would think as cars speed by on the highway, sometimes the gusts knocking their hats off their heads.

Massachusetts will be the 44th state to pass such a law, according to Move Over, America

Last week, Massachusetts State Police along with state police Superintendent Col. Mark Delaney, Massachusetts Highway Department Commissioner Luisa Paiewonsky, AAA Southern New England Director of Public and Legislative Affairs Mary Maguire and Massachusetts Organization of State Engineers and Scientists President Joe Dorant held a press conference to detail the change.

Among those in attendance were injured state trooper Dana Cresta. Cresta was nearly killed last October when he was struck by a car while standing outside his cruiser on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton. Cresta was taken to Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center with serious injuries.

A national organization called Move Over, America, which is devoted to spreading awareness of move-over laws, stated that more than 150 law enforcement officers have been struck and killed by vehicles along the nation's highways since 1997.

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