HARRISBURG – Legislation sponsored by State Senator Doug Mastriano (R-33) and State Senator Kim Ward (R-39) to strengthen the state’s Steer Clear Law and better protect tow truck drivers, law enforcement and other first responders was signed into law Thursday as Act 105.
In addition to adding stiffer penalties and raising public awareness, Senate Bill 1281 rebrands the “Steer Clear Law” as the “Move Over Law” to clarify how motorists should react when approaching or passing an emergency response area.
The law takes effect April 27, 2021.
“We took action after our first responders, and the grim statistics, showed that we have a problem in Pennsylvania in putting these committed men and women at unnecessary risk, in jobs that are already risky,” said Mastriano. “Enactment of this bill, with new penalties and a new name, will send the message: move over.”
Senate Bill 1281 establishes a new point system for a “Move Over” violation; doubles the fines for a summary offense; strengthens public awareness by requiring PennDOT to educate the public throughout the year; and implements new requirements for drivers approaching an emergency response area.
There are more than 350 reportable traffic crashes in Pennsylvania every day that put first responders in harm’s way. Already in 2020, 40 first responders have been killed nationwide while working roadside incidents: 16 law enforcement, 17 tow truck operators, 1 mobile mechanic, 3 fire/EMS personnel and 3 Safety Service Patrol Operators. Unfortunately, these numbers include two Pennsylvania first responders, Tow Operator/Firefighter Tyler Laudenslager and Paramedic Matt Smelser.
Last month, Mastriano and Ward – chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee – organized a procession of first responders and rally outside the Capitol, in an effort to urge enactment of the Move Over legislation. The rally included co-sponsor Senator John DiSanto (R-15) and fellow lawmakers, along with first responders injured in roadside crashes and family members of those killed.