WATERTOWN, S.D. (KELO) – Several new laws went into effect in South Dakota Wednesday, including changes to the state’s Move Over law. The new changes aim to keep everyone on the road safer.
In South Dakota, drivers have always had to move over for emergency vehicles with flashing amber lights.
While that’s still part of the law, the Move Over law now requires you to move over for authorized vehicles that use a blue light on a highway.
“There are more people working in emergency services such as tow truck drivers, ambulance personnel, and just motorists that are pulled over and stopped on the side of the road for an emergency, so this new law is more geared towards protecting all of those individuals,” Watertown Police Department, Captain Steve Rehorst said.
Andy Wicks is the owner of Performance Towing and Recovery, and says this change will be help him do his job.
“The ability to give us a little room to do that work is paramount to our safety and the safety of whoever we are trying to assist,” owner Performance Towing and Recovery, Andy Wicks said.
Earlier this year, a man who worked with Wicks, died while doing his job. Dale Jones, was near Watertown when a car lost control and hit him.
“In the case of Dale Jones this year where he was helping a motorist and pull them out of the ditch, you don’t know what that emergency service worker is doing on the side of the road,” Rehorst said.
Beginning July 1, the fine increases and so does the offense. It’s now a Class 1 misdemeanor if you fail to move over and cause a crash with an emergency vehicle.
“The fine has went up to almost $300 so if you’re not moving over, not following those laws, the fine is going to be close to $300,” Rehorst said.
Changes that could potentially save lives.
“It’s important to follow these laws because you don’t know what’s going on,” Rehorst said.