Move over Florida, it’s the law

TALLAHASSEE – While January is Move Over month, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) continues to urge all motorists to move over for emergency and service vehicles stopped along the roadway.

Preliminarily in 2017, there were 212 crashes and almost 17,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over. DHSMV and the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are partnering with the Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Department of Transportation and AAA – The Auto Club Group to ensure all law enforcement, first responders, service and utility workers and Road Rangers are safe in 2018.

“The Move Over Law protects those who work on the side of the roadway each day and ensures that they make it home safely to their families,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Law enforcement, first responders, service and utility vehicles provide critical services to motorists in one of the most dangerous work environments. It is imperative that motorists abide by the law and move over or slow down for these brave professionals so that they can do their job and Arrive Alive.”

DHSMV educates new and young drivers on the Move Over Law with information in the driver handbook. Statistically, however, it is older drivers (age 30-60) who may have received their license prior to the law going into effect in 2002 who are less likely to move over or slow down. The Move Over Law states that drivers must move over as soon as it is safe to do so for any authorized law enforcement, emergency or service vehicles displaying any visible signals while stopped on the roadside, including Road Rangers, sanitation vehicles and tow trucks.

“Florida’s Move Over law was enacted to protect those trying to protect Florida’s motorists,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Abide by the Move Over law and help us protect our emergency personnel and their families.”

When motorists cannot vacate the lane closest to the emergency or service vehicle, they must slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit. Failure to yield or move over puts law enforcement officers, emergency first responders and public service workers in danger while they are on the job protecting and serving the citizens and visitors of Florida.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Secretary Mike Dew said, “Safety is the top priority at the Florida Department of Transportation. FDOT recognizes that every driver has a role to play in keeping our roadways safe. We are committed to improving public awareness of highway safety by educating all road users on sharing the road.  We all need to do our part to keep our roadways safe and reduce crashes – Move Over and save a life.”

“The men and women of our sheriffs’ offices work tirelessly, sometimes under difficult circumstances, to proudly protect the citizens we serve,” said Florida Sheriffs Association President Mike Adkinson. “Our Florida sheriffs applaud and fully support the Move Over, Florida! campaign to protect those who protect us.”

“The Florida Police Chiefs Association (FPCA) and its members are committed to providing quick, efficient, and life-saving services when responding to a traffic accident or assisting drivers and passengers in need on our roadways. However, we lose far too many officers each year when they respond to these calls. In 2017, traffic-related fatalities were the leading cause of officer deaths. In order to effectively serve Florida’s citizens, law enforcement needs drivers’ help, and one simple action is all it takes,” said FPCA President and Miami Shores Police Department Police Chief Kevin Lystad. “Please help to ensure our officers and first responders return home safely to their families by simply slowing down and moving over.”

“The Move Over Law is in place to protect those who protect us,” said Montrae Waiters, spokeswoman, AAA-The Auto Club Group. “AAA will always fight for the safety of roadside workers that spend every day in harm’s way.”

To comply with the Move Over Law drivers must:

Multi-Lane Roadway:

  • Vacate the lane closest to the stationary emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, Road Ranger or wrecker and always signal the intention to change lanes.
  • Slow down to a speed of 20 mph below the posted speed limit if a driver cannot move over safely.
  • Be prepared to allow those who are attempting to move over into the next lane.

Two-Lane Roadway:

  • Slow down to a speed of 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
  • Travel at 5 mph if the speed limit is 20 mph or less.

The public is encouraged to report aggressive drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).

For more information on the Move Over Law, visit: https://www.flhsmv.gov/safety-center/driving-safety/move-over/.

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