’Move Over’ Law: some still not getting the message

JACKSONVILLE, Fla – January is “Move Over Month,” and law enforcement agencies are reminding drivers to move over one lane, or slow down when they see police or emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road.

Despite years of education, the number of written citations went up in 2019 from the year before.

According to the Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, 20,201 “move over” citations were issued statewide in 2019. That’s up nearly 3,000 from 2018 when the number stood at 17,319. Of the citations issued last year, the data shows 601 were out of Duval County. 83 were out of Clay County, 130 were out of St. Johns. To see your county, click here.

News4Jax covered the funeral for Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Chelsea Richard in May 2014. Richard was working a traffic crash on I-75 in Marion County.

FHP said Trooper Richard was speaking with a tow truck driver and a family member of a crash victim when another accident occurred at the same location. Troopers said a pickup truck pulling a trailer left the roadway and struck all three, killing Trooper Richard and the tow truck driver. The third person died several days later.

To get their point across further, some troopers loaned their voices to audio PSAs. Trooper Dave Rodriguez was among them.

"I myself, am a victim as I was struck by a distracted driver in 2012, who failed to move over," Trooper Rodriguez said in the audio recording.

FHP said Trooper Rodriguez was working on State Road 528 at the time of the crash. He suffered several life threatening injuries but was resuscitated by a Good Samaritan. To read more about Trooper Rodriguez’ experience, click here:

The statistics for “Move Over” crashes are concerning. Since 2015, Florida Highway Safety has documented 953 crashes, with 2 deaths and 30 serious injuries. That's why if drivers see lights, they must move over a lane.

If you can't safely move over, or if you're on a two-lane road, you must slow down 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. Or if the speed limit is 20 miles per hour, drivers must drop their speed down to 5 miles per hour.

The "Move Over" law is not limited to just law enforcement. Drivers must also follow it for emergency, sanitation, utility vehicles, and tow trucks.

While this January is Florida’s “Move Over” month, the real push is to save lives every day of the year.

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