Move Over law expands to protect other workers

By Tarik Minor - Anchor, I-TEAM reporter

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A law originally designed to keep law enforcement officers and emergency responders safe on the sides of the Florida's highways is being expanded to protect other roadside workers.

The Move Over law requires motorists to vacate the lane closest to emergency vehicles on the median.  Starting Tuesday, drivers are required to move over one lane if they see trash trucks, state vehicles or any utility vehicle on the side of a road. 

This will include tow trucks, which 41-year-old Kit Tappen was standing near early Saturday morning when he was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer along Interstate 95 in St. Johns County.

"I just couldn't believe it when I heard that on the news," said one of the victim's neighbors. "That can't be Kit. But how many people are named kit?"

This neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, said Tappen was a model father and husband who went out of his way to help people, which is what he was doing early Saturday morning.

"We're constantly trained of the inherent risks of working on the highways," said Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Dylan Bryan.

Just last month Trooper Chelsea Richard was killed along I-75 while assisting a family that had been in an accident.

Bryan says it just makes sense to expand the move-over statute that was already in force to protect law enforcement and fire-rescue workers to protect others working along our highways.

"Studies show they were emergency operators conducting activities on our scenes and should be included within that stature," Bryan said.

In situations where you can't move over, the law requires drivers to drop their speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit when passing.

The driver of the tractor-trailer that hit Tappen on Saturday morning has not been charged, as troopers say the investigation is still underway.

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