Ask the Mayor: Why are There No ‘Move Over’ Signs Posted?

May 29, 2016, 12:48 PM HST · Updated May 29, 12:55 PM
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File image photo by Wendy Osher.

File image photo by Wendy Osher.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the questions submitted to his office staff.

Submit your own questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], call 270-7855 or send them by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.

Aloha Mayor Arakawa:

Q: Newly returned to the island, I was pulled over for violating the “Move Over Law,” which I was completely unaware of.

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I have not seen anything on the topic since being pulled over and slapped with a criminal “petty misdemeanor” charge.

I agree that this is an important law—moving over a lane to protect safety personnel. However, I didn’t know about the law, so I slowed down in my lane and kept to the left.

Now I have to go to court in November and am facing up to 30 days in jail, which scares the heck out of me.

Why are there no signs saying “move over” anywhere? I think the public needs to be made aware of this before we start hitting law-abiding people like me with petty criminal charges.

I am now afraid to use the highways at all around here and may move back to Mainland if this turns out badly.

It would be sad for Maui to have me leave.

I’ve retained an attorney who says not to worry, but I worry. I hope you can use your ask the mayor space to educate folks about the “Move Over Law.”

I actually counted at least 100 cars doing what I did as the officer behind me had his lights flashing.

I pulled way over into the grass to keep him safe as he approached my car, so I do get that cars speeding by is unsafe for our officers conducting operations on side of roads.

I will obey the law going forward. But it seems ridiculous to be slapped with criminal charge when I knew nothing bout the law and was driving very safely already to protect the officers. I just didn’t pull over, but I would have had I known of the law.

A: Although you may have been out-of-state when it became a law here in 2012, you should know that all 50 states now have a “Move Over Law,” with Hawai‘i being one of the last ones to adopt it.

Hawai‘i Revised Statute 291C-0027 Emergency vehicle stopped for emergencies; duty of approaching vehicle” states that when approaching an emergency vehicle that is stopped on the roadside and has flashing emergency lights on, a driver must slow down and change lanes into the adjacent lane if it is safe to do so, or if possible, two lanes over.

The Maui Police Department said there have been several press releases about the law since it was enacted. The press releases were covered by all the major TV news channels in the state, as well as on the Internet news site MauiNow.com, in The Maui News and other local news outlets.

The last press release in August 2014 stated that 60 citations had been given out in a two-week period.

To read the full text of the “Move Over” law, visit www.capitol.hawaii.gov; locate the blue box on the lower left with the “Hawai‘i Revised Statutes” search bar, and type in HRS_0291C-0027.

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