Drivers reminded to move over for stopped emergency vehicles

FHP among agencies emphasizing Move Over Law

By Crystal Moyer - Traffic/reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Moving over for emergency or service vehicles stopped along the roadway is a law some drivers may sometimes forget.

The Florida Highway Patrol and other law enforcement agencies have come together to emphasize the Move Over Law to keep everyone safe. 

In December, a trooper in South Florida was working a crash when a car came barreling toward him. The trooper pushed a man out of the way and took the hit, the Highway Patrol said.

A month earlier, a trooper in Jacksonville who was parked on the shoulder of Interstate 95 was rear-ended by another car.

Both troopers are OK after spending time in the hospital but, according to the Highway Patrol, their injuries were preventable by drivers just moving over. 

RELATED: Driver safety: January is 'Move Over' month

"It's always in the back of your mind that these events can occur. On Interstate 95 by Lem Turner Road, I've had to jump the guardrail to avoid the vehicle coming inside the emergency lane," FHP Capt. Michael DuBois said at a news conference Wednesday. "You try to figure out why these things happen."

Florida law requires drivers to move over a lane for law enforcement or service vehicles stopped on the roadside. The law includes firetrucks, tow trucks, utility trucks and Road Rangers. 

If drivers can't safely move over into the next lane, authorities say, they must slow down to 20 mph less than the posted speed limit.

To comply with the Move Over Law, drivers must:

Multilane roadway

  • 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. 

Two-lane roadway

  • 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.

Last year, there were more than 230 crashes that resulted when drivers did not move over in Florida, the Highway Patrol reports. 

Over the years, many people have been injured some even died as a result. Troopers say that despite the nearly 17,000 citations issued in 2018, drivers don't seem to follow the law.

On Wednesday, News4Jax and FHP Master Sgt. Dylan Bryan parked on the shoulder of Interstate 295 near a construction site and watched as drivers flew right by his cruiser when they should have been moving over. 

"Traffic cones, flashing lights -- but as you can see ... vehicles are not moving over," Bryan said. "It's just common sense to move over and give that safe barrier."

If a driver is caught breaking the Move Over Law, they may face a $165 fine and points on their license. 

Troopers hope drivers will think twice when they see anyone -- not just law enforcement -- on the side of the road and move over. 

To report aggressive drivers, dial *FHP (*347). For more information on the Move Over Law, click here

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