Maryland's Move Over Law, car seat requirements changing this weekend

If you drive on Maryland roadways, officials are giving a heads-up about some changes taking effect on Sunday.

The first is an update to the state's Move Over Law. Officials are hoping to reduce the number of crashes involving stopped vehicles.

Another is a law that will require children two and younger to have their car seats be rear-facing. 

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Previously, Maryland's Move Over Law really only applied to emergency vehicles such as police cruisers or EMS ambulances. The requirement is that if you see those emergency lights, you have to either slow down or move over.

The change to Maryland's law now applies to any stopped vehicle with flares or hazard lights on. If you approach a car pulled over with emergency lights, you have to slow down or move over.

MDOT roadside assistance worker Richard Reeves says he thinks this change will save lives. His truck was hit while he was helping an abandoned vehicle.

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"I’ve spoken with a lot of people about the incident, and they say, ‘Well, how would the Move Over Law have changed that?’" he says. "Well, it probably wouldn’t have -- the driver was likely impaired. But this same situation can happen to anybody, whether it’s an impaired driver, a distracted driver, someone that’s simply reaching into their passenger seat to grab an item."

Officials say the second law being enacted is focused on clarity. Currently, it is only recommended that children under two be rear-facing when in a car seat. Making it required eliminates confusion about what parents should do.

D.C. and Virginia already have this requirement. Chrissy Nizer of the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration says data shows keeping kids rear-facing as long as possible is the safest route.

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"It’s not about giving the citation," she says. "In fact, it’s required the first time someone gets pulled over and found in violation of the law, they actually get a warning. And I think denotes what it’s all about. It’s about educating parents, educating caregivers about how to properly transport your children."