What do Colorado ‘move out’ laws mean to you?
It has long been the rule of the road that drivers must move for emergency vehicles. In Colorado, it’s the law. It has been for almost two years. Now, violating that law will face stiffer penalties than ever. The last legislative session ended with a bill, Senate Bill 229, which makes it a class 1 misdemeanor to recklessly drive near emergency response teams, tow trucks, and utility vehicles causing injury. Conviction will carry a sentence of 12 to 18 months in jail, along with a $5,000 fine.
Senate bill honors slain soldiers
Lawmakers drafted the bill, which now sits on the governor’s desk awaiting his signature, following the deaths of a pair of Colorado Highway Patrol members in separate hit-and-run accidents late last year. last year. Lawmakers even dubbed the pending bill the “Move Over for Cody Act,” after one of two police officers who were killed within days of each other late last year.
Officer Cody Donahue was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer on November 25, 2016 on Interstate 25 near Castle Rock, Colorado. Donahue had been responding to another accident on the side of the road at the time. Less than two weeks earlier, a drunk driver returning home from a Denver Broncos football game struck police officer Jaimie Jursevics as he tried to flag him down on I-25 in Castle Rock. The offender tasted more than four times over the legal alcohol limit.
Responsibility for careless driving
The legislation, which many hope the governor will sign, also increases the punishment for a careless driving citation resulting in a fatality from a class 1 misdemeanor to a class 6 felony, which would include a 12-year jail sentence. 18 months and a fine that could exceed $100,000.
As emergency vehicles and tow trucks approach, Colorado motorists are supposed to “proceed with all due care and caution and yield the right-of-way by moving into a lane with at least one moving lane set aside.” The new law also includes utility vehicles. The “Move Over for Cody Act” will go into effect on September 1, 2017, just in time for all the traffic on the highway over Labor Day weekend.
Unfortunately, we are all too familiar with the consequences of these types of injuries and catastrophic losses. As the summer driving season approaches, help those who help us, move towards emergency vehicles, tow truck drivers and possibly utility vehicles, which are parked on the side of the road.