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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

FHP reminding drivers to ‘move over’ for stopped emergency, service vehicles

During the month of January, the Florida Highway Patrol is reminding drivers of the state’s Move Over Law.

While many drivers understand to pull over for emergency vehicles approaching from behind, state law also requires vehicles to move over a lane for certain emergency and service vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road.

Under the law, in the event that a driver is unable to move over, the driver must slow down. The law is intended to help protect law enforcement officers, first responders, and other public servants while they provide critical services on the side of the road.

According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), there were 191 crashes and over 14,000 citations issued for drivers in 2021 for failure to move over in Florida.

FLHSMV executive director Terry L. Rhodes said, “Crashes that occur because of a driver that failed to move over are completely preventable. As you head to your destinations this year, remember these four words if you see flashing lights: slow down, move over.”

During the month of January, FHP troopers will continue to educate the public, including individuals who fail to comply with the Move Over Law, and other drivers that the troopers come in contact with.

All 50 states have Move Over laws in place, and Florida’s law was added to section 316.126 of Florida Statutes in 2002. The statute, originally introduced in 1971, requires drivers to move or yield right-of-way to emergency vehicles.

In 2014, utility and sanitation vehicles were added to the law, and road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicles displaying warning lights were added in 2021.

According to FHP, drivers should vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, wrecker, or road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicle when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes.

Drivers should always use a turn signal to indicate the intention to change lanes, and drivers should be prepared to allow others who are attempting to move over into the next lane.

If moving over cannot be safely accomplished, then FHP states that drivers should slow down to a speed that is 20 miles per hour (mph) less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 mph or greater. When the speed limit is 20 mph or less, then drivers should travel at 5 mph.

Florida Department of Transportation secretary Kevin J. Thibault said, “Florida’s Move Over Law is about protecting the people who serve on our roadways. Sadly, this past year, FDOT lost a veteran Road Ranger of 10 years, and several employees have been seriously injured as a result of drivers not moving over. Ensuring the safety of our employees has and will always be paramount, and I implore each and every driver to help us as we aim to prevent any further tragedies involving the men and women who selflessly work to keep Florida moving safely.”

For more information, visit the FLHSMV Move Over webpage.