For the month of January, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles wants Historic City News readers to know that they are commemorating “Move Over” month by reminding all motorists to Move Over for emergency and service vehicles stopped along the roadway.
Move Over violations result in more than 100 crashes per year on Florida roadways, putting motorists and those who work along the roadways at risk. In 2014, there were at least 161 crashes from motorists failing to move over, resulting in at least 120 injuries, and, in a single accident, the death of Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Chelsea Richard, tow truck driver John Duggan and motorist George Phillips.
“The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles stresses to each driver the importance of complying with the Move Over Act,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Move Over, Florida! The simple act of moving over for law enforcement, emergency first responders and other stopped or disabled vehicles gives these public servants adequate space to do their jobs and can greatly increase safety on Florida’s roadways.”
The “Move Over” Act was enacted in 2002 to help protect law enforcement officers, emergency workers and other public servants when they are performing their duties along the roadside.
State law requires vehicles to move over a lane for emergency vehicles, sanitation vehicles, utility service vehicles or wreckers. If a driver cannot move over, they should slow down 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.
“Almost every state trooper has a story of a vehicle coming too close or even striking them as they were providing services to motorists on the side of the road,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “The Move Over Act is about providing a safe work environment for everyone who patrols or delivers critical services along the roadway.”
To comply with the Move Over Act drivers must:
- Vacate the lane closest to the stationary emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle 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.
- 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.
From 2012 to 2014, crashes increased 41 percent and citations increased 68 percent for motorists failing to move over. In addition to endangering law enforcement, first responders, public servants and other motorists, failing to move over can result in fines and points on a driving record.