Letter from Teller County Sheriff’s Office

“Move Over” Law Implementation Enforced by Local Agencies

On November 25, 2016, the state of Colorado lost another law enforcement officer, Cody Donahue, due to a driver who failed to obey Colorado’s the “Move Over” law.

Immediately following Trooper Donahue’s death, the Greenwood Village Police Department organized an operation, consisting of five law enforcement agencies in the Denver metro area, to conduct education and enforcement of the law.

On December 1, 2016, a joint operation was conducted by these five agencies to educate drivers and increase enforcement of Colorado’s “Move Over” law.  A total of 278 traffic stops were made that day of vehicles that were in violation of the law.

This law (CRS 42-4-705(2) requires all drivers approaching or passing a stationary authorized emergency vehicle that is giving a visual sign by means of flashing, rotating, or oscillating red, blue or white lights or a stationary towing carrier vehicle that is giving a visual signal by means of flashing, rotating, or oscillating yellow lights shall exhibit due care and caution by moving over at least one lane if possible. If moving over a lane is not possible, drivers should greatly reduce their speed when passing. 

Colorado’s law is clear, requiring motorists to move over at least one lane whenever they approach an emergency vehicle with its lights flashing.  If a motorist is unable to move over, such as a two-lane road or when heavy traffic is present, then they are required to greatly reduce their speed.  This law also protects road maintenance and tow truck operations.  By moving over, motorists provide a buffer zone for the personnel directing their attention to the situation on the roadway.

Despite Colorado’s “Move Over” law, we continue to see needless crashes across the state.  Every year, several first responders and other road safety personnel are seriously injured, some fatally, because motorists simply refuse to move over. 

Unfortunately, the daily experiences of our first responders and road safety personnel has provided us with the knowledge that a large amount of Colorado motorists are either unaware of the law or simply refuse to obey it.  Regardless, this failure to move over can result in severe consequences for the first responders and the people who crash into them.   

In an effort to raise awareness of Colorado’s “Move Over” law, several agencies have committed to continuing education and enforcement efforts through at least the first quarter of 2017, identifying these efforts as “Operation 1 Charlie 3”, in honor of Trooper Donahue.

Pre-planned dates for this operation have been identified, and all agencies throughout the state of Colorado have been encouraged to participate in this operation.  

The first day of this operation was held on January 25, with participation by 13 agencies throughout Colorado, including the Teller County Sheriff’s Office.

This detail conducted by deputies from the Teller County Sheriff’s Office resulted in 32 traffic stops for violation of this law. Twenty-four citations and eight warnings were issued.  The enforcement detail was conducted on Highway 24 between Woodland Park and Divide, and Highway 67 between Divide and Cripple Creek.

Commander Mark Morlock

Teller County Sheriff’s Department