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Friday, March 31, 2023

FLHSMV urges motorists to move over for emergency, service vehicles

January is “Move Over Month,” and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol are reminding all motorists to move over or slow down for emergency and service vehicles.

Florida’s Move Over 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 roadway.

Florida law requires that motorists pull over for emergency vehicles that are approaching from behind, and drivers must also move over a lane for certain emergency and service vehicles that are stopped on the side of the road. In the event that it is not safe to move over, then drivers are required to slow down.

In 2021, FLHSMV stated that there were a total of 217 crashes and nearly 15,000 citations issued to motorists who failed to move over on Florida’s roadways.

“The Move Over Law protects the men and women who call the road their office each day and ensures that they make it home safely to their families,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Law enforcement, first responders, and service, utility, and construction professionals provide critical services to motorists in one of the most dangerous work environments. It is critical that motorists abide by the law and move over or slow down for these brave workers so that they can do their job and most importantly, make it home safely each day.”

During the month of January, FHP troopers will continue to educate motorists who are not complying with the Move Over Law. The public can report aggressive or dangerous drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).

“The Move Over Law protects our law enforcement, emergency first responders, and other service vehicles on Florida’s roadways,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Please give our public service professionals the room they need to deliver critical services to Florida’s citizens and visitors.”

Move Over laws are in place in all 50 states, and Florida’s Move Over Law was added in 2002 to section 316.126, Florida Statutes. The statute, which was originally introduced in 1971, requires motorists to move or yield the right-of-way to emergency vehicles.

In 2014, utility and sanitation vehicles were added to the Move Over Law. Most recently, in 2021, road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicles displaying warning lights were also added.

FLHSMV is partnering with the Florida Department of Transportation, Florida Police Chiefs Association, Florida Sheriffs Association, and AAA – The Auto Club Group to drive the Move Over message home to ensure that all emergency and service professionals that work on and along Florida’s roadways Arrive Alive in 2023.

“Respecting the Move Over Law is essential for the courageous responders who assist with roadside incidents and truly makes an incredible impact,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “Moving over to allow responders to safely perform their duties without increased risks is the least we can do to show appreciation for their important work.”

“When you see a law enforcement vehicle stopped on the road, please move over and give them the space they need to do their jobs,” said Fellsmere Police Department Chief Keith Touchberry, President of the Florida Chiefs Association. “If you can’t safely move over, slow all the way down, at least 20 mph slower than the speed limit.”

“Nearly 350 people are struck and killed outside a disabled vehicle each year,” said Michele Harris, Florida Public Affairs Director for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Motorists should slow down and move over for all vehicles on the roadside; an emergency vehicle or tow provider with flashing lights or a disabled vehicle belonging to a driver with their hazard lights on.”

For more information on Florida’s Move Over Law, visit the FLHSMV’s Move Over webpage.