Patrol car crash shows why motorists should obey the law and move over for emergency vehicles

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Big Island police are reminding motorists to drive with caution and move over when they see emergency vehicles and first responders on the island’s roadways. The reminder comes after a recent incident during which a patrol car crashed after being forced off the road by another vehicle.

Courtesy of the Hawaiʻi Police Department.

The crash involved a Hawaiʻi Police Department officer traveling in his patrol car with its lights and sirens activated. A driver failed to follow the state “Move Over Law” and cut in front of the officer’s vehicle. The officer was forced off the roadway and crashed his vehicle to avoid colliding with the driver who didn’t moved over.

“It was very fortunate that someone wasn’t injured more seriously, but this is exactly why it is critically important for drivers to follow the Move Over Law,” said a media release from the Police Department.

The Move Over Law was put in effect to help protect first responders when they are performing their duties near or on a roadway. It requires motorists to slow down to a prudent speed, or if safe, make a lane change into the adjacent lane of travel when approaching an emergency vehicle with its emergency lights flashing.


Emergency vehicles include:

  • Hawaiʻi Police Department and Hawaiʻi Fire Department vehicles.
  • Ocean Safety vehicles.
  • Emergency Medical Services vehicles.
  • Freeway Service patrol vehicles.
  • Hawaiʻi Department of Public Safety Sheriff Division vehicles.
  • Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency vehicles.
  • Hawaiʻi County emergency management vehicles, including Civil Defense vehicles.
  • Hawaiʻi Department of Transportation Harbors Division vehicles.
  • Hawaiʻi Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement vehicles.
  • Tow trucks.

The Hawai‘i Police Department wants its officers to go home safe at the end of each shift. Motorists will see them out making traffic stops for speeding, seat belt violations, distracted driving and driving under the influence of an intoxicant enforcement, among other reasons.

Slow down when you see an emergency vehicle and move over if it’s safe to do so.



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