With less driver training in our schools, and extended license renewals, it’s easy not to keep up with old or new rules of the road. Many don’t quite know what to do even when emergency vehicles are approaching. Somehow something has been lost in transition that you must move over safely and stop until the vehicles pass. It’s not optional, it’s the law!
Likewise, the law is clear that you must slow down and “move over” for law enforcement, emergency, sanitation, utility service vehicles and tow trucks or wreckers, that are stopped on the roadside and displaying any visible signs, while attending to whatever situation is taking place. If you can’t move over safely, slow down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit. Slow to 5 mph for a posted speed of 20 mph or less. Violating the Move Over law will result in a fine, fees, and points on your driving record.
Move Over Law
Florida’s “Move Over” law was enacted in 2002 and additional language was added as late as 2014. The changes were made to protect individuals driving service type vehicles because of deaths, injuries and crashes, even in local neighborhoods.
A report issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) in early 2017 found the number of total crashes involving failure to move over increased 26 percent between 2015 and 2016, and 50 percent between 2013 to 2016. In 2016, there were 19,078 Move Over citations written, with Duval County one of the top five counties with the most move over violation citations written!
Rising numbers in “move-over” law violations largely means that individuals are being run over or nearly so while helping others. One could also draw a parallel between the increasing number of distracted or texting while driving incidences and increased move-over violations. Distracted eyes can’t see impending need for caution.
Breaking two laws at one time, not moving over and texting while driving, is problematic and careless. Imagine you or your loved one in distress on the side of the road waiting for help, or standing by as a tow truck or other service vehicle is assisting while cars zoom by at say 50–70 mph. Or the situation where someone you care about is injured and waiting for emergency help that is delayed by drivers blocking forward progress by not moving over. These situations happen more than you know. Ask any Road Ranger,* firefighter, law enforcement officer, or utility worker.
The consequences of injury, lost wages and even death, should compel everyone to help spread the word about moving over on the road to reduce injuries and save lives. Let’s start today!
*Road Ranger is a free highway assistance program provided by the Florida Department of Transportation
Audrey Gibson is a State Senator and Paralegal with Terrell Hogan Law Firm