RICHMOND, Va. - A bill before the Virginia General Assembly would toughen penalties for violators of Virginia's Move Over law.
The law requires drivers to move over, or if they are unable to move over reduce speed, when approaching emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road.
Currently the law classifies a first violation as a traffic infraction, punishable by a $250 fine, while a second violation is a Class 1 misdemeanor. House Bill 1911, introduced by Delegate Chris Peace, would change that.
If approved by the General Assembly, violating the Move Over law would be treated as reckless driving, which is a Class 1 misdemeanor. That comes with up to a year in jail or a fine of $2,500.
Del. Peace talked about the bill in Richmond on Monday. He was joined by Melanie Clark, the widow of Lt. Bradford Clark. He was a Hanover County firefighter killed by a tractor-trailer on Interstate 295 in October during Tropical Storm Michael.
Melanie Clark says it is now her life mission to highlight and bring attention to Virginia's Move Over law.
"I see this as just continuing on what my husband would want me to do, and that’s to help protect the guys that he loved and died for," she told reporters in Richmond.
In Hampton Roads, News 3 anchor Todd Corillo spoke with Virginia State Police Sgt. Michelle Anaya about why the Move Over law is so important.
"We’ve had a lot of troopers struck by vehicles because they failed to move over," she explained. "We all have families, we all want to go home at the end of the day. We just want people to slow down or move over to the next lane and allow us to help those who are in need."
Count on News 3 to keep you updated on the progress of this proposal.