We've all seen it. A police officer has pulled over an intoxicated driver or maybe a speeder on the side of a four-lane roadway. Drunk or not, in Alabama, the law states that passing traffic must move over to give the officer some safety margin while he is doing his job. A recent story about an Atmore, AL, man shows how being under the influence of alcohol can affect your judgment and cause you to forget, or ignore the most simple rules of the road.
Sunday, the day after the Fourth of July, a Flomaton police officer was carrying out a standard traffic stop on Highway 31 in the early morning hours. According to news reports, Officer Daniel Thompson saw a 1991 Lincoln Town Car approaching him during his traffic stop. The vehicle never moved over and came very close to the officer as he stood outside his patrol car. Due to the danger involved, because the Town Car driver did not move over, Officer Thompson pursued the vehicle driven by 68-year-old Almie Smith.
As a Birmingham DUI defense lawyer, I have aggressively defended numerous clients charged with drunk driving. The important thing to remember is that if you choose to drive under the influence of alcohol, or any substance that impairs your ability to react quickly to traffic situations, you must be prepared to pulled over, given a field sobriety test and perhaps a Breathalyzer test as well, not to mention receive a drunk driving summons. In this case, Mr. Smith either did not remember Alabama's “Move Over Law,” or he was too intoxicated to recognize the squad car on the side of the road.
In any case, Smith's actions alerted the officer to his possibly impaired state, which led to DUI charges being levied against him. As a reminder, Alabama's Move Over Law requires drivers on four lane roadways to reduce speed and move over to the inside lane away from emergency vehicles and officers. The law, which has been around for three years now, was created to help reduce the chances of injury to emergency workers. Had the man hit the officer, things could be so much worse for Mr. Smith, as he could have been charged with vehicular assault as well as DUI.
Atmore Man Arrested On DUI Charges After He Fails To ‘Move Over', NorthEscambia.com, July 8, 2009