Virginia updates its Move Over Law to protect motorists in disabled vehicles

Angela Hurley, 49, of Mechanicsville, Virginia, was extremely creative, according to her sister Latane Flanagan.

Her creativity fostered a career as a hairstylist, during which she had the opportunity to cut the hair of country music legend Kenny Rogers.

While she encountered some struggles in her life, Hurley’s life was really looking up last year, Flanagan said.

Her sister said the mother of one son had lost weight, had a new home that she was proud of and was giving back by helping people with alcoholism and other mental health issues.

“She was doing so well,” Flanagan said.

Angela Hurley styled singer Kenny Rogers’ hair before her death. (Courtesy Latane Flanagan)

But it all ended on July 19, 2022, while Hurley sat inside of her broken down car on the side of Interstate 95 in Hanover County outside of Richmond. As she waited for help, according to her sister, an SUV swerved into the shoulder and struck Hurley’s car, killing her.

In Virginia, it is illegal to not move over or slow down when a first responder or construction vehicle is on the side of the roads with their lights flashing. What isn’t illegal is doing the same for a disabled vehicle, but that will change with a new law supported by Hurley’s family.

“It’s important because it could have saved her life. I think it’s important because it would have saved anybody’s life that was around her assisting her at that point in time,” Flanagan said.

The law comes after bipartisan support in the General Assembly for two companion bills, introduced by Del. Chris Runion (R-Bridgewater) and state Sen. David Marsden (D-Fairfax County).

“Nobody’s a Republican or Democrat when you’re stranded at the side of the road and at risk with cars going by at 70 miles an hour. We’re all vulnerable,” Marsden said.

Signed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin this week, the new law will amend the state’s current Move Over laws, requiring motorists to move over or slow down if they come upon a vehicle with its hazard lights on. The same must be done if approaching a vehicle with caution signs or flares set up behind it.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 28 people were killed in crashes in Virginia while outside of disabled vehicles.

“This is a great, common-sense update to the law that will encourage drivers to slow down and move over to protect all who are along our roadways,” AAA Mid-Atlantic spokesman Morgan Dean said.

According to AAA, which pushed for the update to the law, a lot of work remains toward making sure drivers are aware they must move over.

The new law will kick in on July 1.

Maryland passed a similar law last year, and in D.C., disabled vehicles are not covered in the District’s law.

Flanagan said her sister would be proud of this update to Virginia’s law.

“I think she would be extremely happy that in lieu of all the heartache that there is something good coming out of it,” Flanagan said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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