WEAR reports that every year law enforcement officers are hurt or killed by someone failing to move over for a stopped or disabled vehicle. Recently, a Gulf Breeze man was killed on the roadside while helping someone in a crash and now the Florida Highway Patrol is reminding residents about Move Over Laws. The law requires that the oncoming driver vacate the nearest lane of traffic and, if that’s not possible, they must slow down at least 20 miles below the speed limit. Motorists can face fines and points on their driver’s license if they fail to move over or slow down near an incident, whether that’s impacting law enforcement or other service workers like tow truck operators. The law does not apply during the short period of time when a driver is pulled over and waiting for emergency officials or a tow truck.
The law has been in place for 15 years, but troopers are seeing more crashes and handing out more citations because drivers don’t move over. In 2016 more than 200 crashes were the result of drivers not moving over for emergency responders, construction workers and tow-truck drivers on the side of roadways. In particular, three tow-truck drivers lost their lives in crashes that could have been prevented. Last year, there were also over 5,518 citations issued in Florida for failing to move over. Moreover, from 2013-16, Move Over Law-related crashes increased by 50 percent.
According to FHP, about 24 percent of drivers don’t move over and those who can’t, because of other traffic around them, don’t slow down. What is interesting is that new and younger drivers are not ones violating the law; it’s older drivers who have been driving since before the law went into affect 15 years ago.
Thus in the month of January, more effort will be made to make sure drivers know moving over isn’t just for everyone’s safety — it’s the law.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of a car failing to comply with the Move Over Law, contact us at Brannon & Brannon for a free consultation at (850)659-2252 or through our website at brannoncanhelp.com.