Have you noticed the flashing signs on valley highways this week, telling you to move over?
It's part of a statewide campaign and a statewide law.
The Department of Public Safety is sending the message to motorists statewide -- it's the law to give emergency officials, first responders and police officers room, but what most people don't know is anyone who puts their hazards on while they're pulled over is protected by the law.
On Wednesday, we got a first hand look at how dangerous it is when people don't move over.
While traffic on Interstate 17 was moving at a high rate of speed, on the side of the highway -- dangerously close to passing vehicles, was Joe Phillips, who was fixing a blown out tire.
"It can be disturbing," he said. "If I was on that side, I'd really be in trouble."
"If they are not able to move over, they're supposed to slow down, which they've done," said DPS officer Carrick Cook. "It's the people that go from the other lane and move into this lane -- that's violating the law."
Cook pulled over to help and to show us what to do when someone else is in trouble. He says during the month of March, DPS will observe what's being called "Move Over Mondays," an awareness campaign to remind Arizona residents they need to stay a safe distance away from flashing lights.
"Our highway patrol officers are very intent on observing these violations and pulling people over for it, not only to educate, but also to save lives," said Cook.
The move over law was put into place in late 2005 to protect law enforcement officers and emergency responders assisting the public. In July 2011, it was enhanced to include the public because stranded motorists and the tow truck drivers who help them are equally at risk.
Giving motorists like Phillips room on highways and local streets could be the difference between life and death. In the end, all drivers have to do is be aware.
Drivers observed in violation of the move over law can be ticketed and fined up to $180.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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