‘Move over’ law is dangerous, says an ex-CHP officer: Roadshow

Q: I normally agree with you, but I have to take exception to an answer regarding slowing down and moving over for flashing lights next to the road.

A: Gary Lofgren, retired CHP officer

A. Whoa, this is one of my trusted experts. Gary served as a CHP officer from 1968 until 1997. We talked many times and even picked up freeway trash together on one occasion. Fire away.

Q: The move-over law was the most irresponsible, dangerous legislation ever passed.  Had it come up before my retirement, I would have vigorously opposed it.

Any time you disrupt traffic, you are setting up a situation for multiple accidents. These acts will cause disruption in the traffic flow, unsafe lane changes and rear-end accidents, all of which will further endanger the persons alongside the road with the flashing lights.

The Highway Patrol encouraged officers to not use their flashing lights unless absolutely necessary due to the distraction they cause. This unsafe law needs to be repealed.

Gary Lofgren

A: According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, most drivers who don’t comply with move-over laws don’t realize how dangerous it is for individuals waiting or working at the side of the road.

Hmmm. What do you say, motorists?  Your turn to fire away.

Q: I was driving on Highway 35 near Alice’s Restaurant when two motorcyclists crossed the yellow line coming at me. Fortunately, we avoided a tragic incident. Can you get the word out about situations like this?

Fred Payton, Redwood City

A: I’ll try and so will the CHP, which has gotten a federal grant to support motorcycle safety efforts through Sept. 30, 2022.

The encouraging news is that there was an approximate 10 percent decrease in motorcycle-involved crashes in California two years ago followed by a 20 percent drop last year.

Last year there were 6,849 motorcycle-involved crashes resulting in 306 deaths and 6,118 injuries within the CHP jurisdiction statewide.

Q: A right-turn arrow was added recently on Lark Avenue westbound turning right onto Highway 17 northbound. According to the law, turning vehicles should remain stopped on red arrows.

That rule is apparently not known by many drivers, who either stop and then go while it’s still red, or just blow right through it as if it isn’t even there. There was one occurrence when, as I stopped at the red arrow, I was aggressively honked at and given a finger by an impatient driver. Can they install a “No Turn on Red” sign?

Kun Zhang

A: A sign won’t be installed, since this is a law that drivers should all know.

Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at mrroadshow@bayareanewsgroup.com or 408-920-5335.


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Author: Gary Richards