WEST PALM BEACH — Move Over Florida! It’s not just common sense and courtesy, it’s the law. Florida Highway Patrol Director, Col. John Czernis recently announced the Patrol will target violators of the Move Over Law now through Sept. 7.
The Move Over Law requires drivers to move over one lane whenever an emergency vehicle on the side of the road has its lights activated. If moving over is not a viable option, drivers must simply slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit. “It is not only important that we enforce the traffic laws, but also that we make every effort to educate drivers to make them aware of what those laws are,” said Czernis. “Florida’s emergency workers have families that expect to see them home safely at the end of their shift. We owe them the opportunity to perform their duties without being struck by a passing motorist.”
Florida adopted the law in 2002 in recognition of the several occasions when emergency response personnel were killed or injured while stopped on the side of the highway. In the past decade, more than 150 law enforcement officers nationwide have been killed by passing motorists while performing their duties on our highways.
“Florida’s law enforcement officers, emergency workers and tow truck drivers work hard to maintain safe conditions on our roadways,” said FHP’s Southern Florida Region Commander, Chief Miguel Guzman. “Drivers must do their part, too, by moving over and slowing down when you see flashing lights ahead. It could spare you a ticket and save a life.”
In the last five years, FHP’s Corporal John Baker, has had three encounters with dangerous consequences of what happens when a driver fails to move over. On two occasions Cpl. Baker was struck by passing vehicles while performing his duties during crash investigations along I-95. And, on Oct. 17, 2007, Corporal Baker was conducting a traffic stop along I-95 in Broward County when the driver of a passing vehicle failed to maintain control of his vehicle by moving over to another lane. This action resulted in a three car collision involving Corporal Baker’s and Trooper Gregory Elias’ vehicles.
The Move Over Law enforcement effort is part of a series where the Florida Highway Patrol focuses on a specific traffic law and cites anyone caught violating that law. The series is called Be Smart, Drive Smart Florida! The Florida Highway Patrol is partnering with law enforcement agencies across the state from now through Labor Day to raise awareness and enforcement of the Move Over Law. During the operation, law enforcement officers will work together along busy highways and interstates to stop those who violate the law.