As of October 1, Maryland now has in effect new motor vehicle laws that involve highway transportation department and other vehicles displaying amber or yellow lights.
The Legislature also expanded and made more severe a statute prohibiting interference with school bus drivers.
The new laws provide as follows:
Maryland law previously provided that drivers coming upon an emergency response or law enforcement vehicle stopped on the road were required if possible to move over to the next lane.
The new law requires that when approaching from the rear of a vehicle displaying a yellow or amber light that is stopped, standing or parked along a highway, a driver if possible must change lanes to the adjacent lane on any highway with two or more lanes in the same direction. If that movement cannot be made safely, a driver is now required to slow to a safe reasonable speed before passing the stopped vehicle.
The new law applies to transportation department vehicles, service and utility vehicles, waste and recycling trucks, and tow trucks.
Violation of the law carries a penalty of a $110 fine and one point against the violators driver’s license, which goes up to $150 and three points if a violation contributes to an accident.
The Legislature also changed the law which already made it a crime to “obstruct, hinder, or interfere with a school bus driver while the school bus driver is engaged in the performance of the school bus driver’s official duties.”
It applies to any driver employed by a local school system. The law also now applies to operators of transit system vehicles.
Such a violation remains a misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $1,000, with an increase in potential jail time from 90 days to up to 1 year.
Thomas Patrick Ryan is a partner in the Rockville law firm of McCarthy Wilson, which specializes in civil litigation.