Starting Friday, State Police plan an unusual enforcement tactic for Maine’s little known “move over” law.

The law requires motorists to move into the passing lane if possible when coming upon a trooper or another emergency vehicle in the breakdown lane. If motorists can’t switch to the passing lane safely, they need to slow down, police said.

The law is designed to give troopers, rescue workers and wrecker operators a margin of safety in what is a potentially dangerous – even deadly – situation. Since 2003, 16 State Police cruisers parked alongside the road have been hit from behind by motorists, sometimes resulting in serious injuries.

A team of troopers will monitor passing traffic on the Maine Turnpike in York on Friday while one is parked in the breakdown lane as if interacting with a motorist. In the coming weeks, the team will be moved to different locations on the highway.

Troopers will use informational handouts and electronic message boards to remind the public about the law.