This month, the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) is reminding all motorists to Move Over for stopped law enforcement, first responders, service and utility vehicles and Road Rangers during its second annual Move Over, Florida! campaign. In 2016, there were more than 200 crashes that occurred and 5,518 citations issued for failure to move over in Florida. DHSMV and its Division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are partnering with the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and AAA – The Auto Club Group to ensure all law enforcement, first responders, service and utility workers and Road Rangers Arrive Alive.
“DHSMV is committed to safety on Florida’s roadways, and the Move Over Law protects the public servants who must work roadside each day,” said DHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “The simple act of moving over not only gives law enforcement, first responders, service and utility vehicles and Road Rangers space to do their job in an intensely dangerous setting, it also helps to ensure they are able to return home to their loved ones following their shift each day.”
The Move Over Law was added to section 316.126, Florida Statutes, in 2002. The statute, which was originally introduced in 1971, requires motorists to move or yield right-of-way to emergency vehicles, and in 2014, utility and sanitation vehicles were added to the Move Over Law. 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.
“The Move Over Law is about providing a safe work environment for everyone who patrols or delivers critical services along the roadway,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “The Florida Highway Patrol will continue to be proactive in our enforcement of this law to ensure the public understands the Move Over Law and are complying with it.”
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.
“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 Jerry L. Demings. “Our Florida sheriffs applaud and fully support the Move Over, Florida! campaign to protect those who protect us.”
“There are more than 15 million licensed drivers in our state, and our officers work around the clock to help keep them safe. Unfortunately, far too many officers have been fatally struck by a vehicle while performing a traffic stop, investigating an accident or assisting a victim on the side of the road. That’s unacceptable,” said Coconut Creek Police Chief Butch Arenal, President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “Florida’s Move Over Law is critical to our officers’ safety when they are out protecting our citizens and visitors on the roads. It’s simple – if you see a first responder on the side of the road, move over. You could be saving a life.”
“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:
* 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.
* 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.
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/.