Have you violated the “Move Over” law? - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Have you violated the “Move Over” law?

A highway patrolman who was hit by a car last Friday is still in the Intensive Care Unit, but we are told he has been up walking around.

Trooper Howard James was injured while he was investigating a crash on I-26.

The patrol says another car knocked James' cruiser into him.

The collision reinforces the importance of South Carolina's "Move Over" law.

It's one of the more frustrating aspects of their jobs. If you're not familiar with the "Move Over" law it says if you come up on an emergency vehicle you have to move to the far lane, and if you can't you have to slow down to a safe speed.

It sounds like common sense, but responders say many haven't gotten the message.

When your office involves thousands of pounds of steel passing you at 70 miles per hour, you know how fast things can go bad.

"It'll be coming up on two years pretty soon since we actually had a fatality on the highway," said Chief Aubrey Jenkins. "Where someone came through one of our emergencies and unfortunately killed one of our firefighters and severely injured another."

Columbia Fire Chief Aubrey Jenkins is talking about Chance Zobel, a 23-year-old firefighter killed on I-20 in 2010.

He was putting out a grass fire when he was hit by a car that disregarded the emergency vehicles and South Carolina's move over law.

According to the Department of Public Safety, the "Move Over" law states that drivers have to slow down and move over when passing an emergency vehicle.

It sounds simple enough, but clearly not everyone has gotten the message.

"We're all too familiar with when people do not obey or respect an emergency vehicle on the scene," said Jenkins. "Because bad things can happen, and that's what we always want to avoid. We're already out there trying to take care of one incident; we don't want it to turn into a multiple incident when we're on the scene."

Most states have "Move Over" laws, but they actually got started in South Carolina in the 90's after a Lexington E-M-S worker was injured by a passing car.

If keeping First Responders safe doesn't get your attention and you're caught and ticketed for not moving over or slowing down it could cost you three to five hundred dollars.

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