TALLAHASSEE — January is Move Over month in Florida, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are reminding motorists to Move Over for emergency or service vehicles stopped along the roadway. FLHSMV and FHP are 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 and ensure all law enforcement, first responders, service and utility workers, and Road Rangers Arrive Alive in 2021.
Preliminarily in 2020, there were 159 crashes and over 12,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over in Florida.
“Each move-over related crash or citation is not simply a statistic, it represents a first responder or service professional – all with family and loved ones – who was carelessly put in danger while trying to serve and protect Floridians along the roadway,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes. “Please, give law enforcement, first responders, and service and utility professionals space to safely do their jobs by moving over or slowing down – it’s the law, and it could save a life.”
The Move Over Law was added to section 316.126, Florida Statutes, in 2002. The statute, which was originally introduced in 1971, requires motorists to move or yield right-of-way to emergency vehicles and in 2014, utility and sanitation vehicles were added to the Move Over Law. The Move Over Law states that drivers must move over as soon as it is safe to do so for any authorized law enforcement, emergency or service vehicles displaying any visible signals while stopped on the roadside, including Road Rangers, sanitation vehicles and tow trucks.
“Florida’s Move Over law helps provide a safe work environment for first responders and everyone who delivers critical services along our roadways,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Please do your part while traveling our roadways and abide by the Move Over law to help protect our emergency personnel and their loved ones.”
When motorists cannot vacate the lane closest to the emergency or service vehicle, they must slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit. Failure to yield or move over puts law enforcement officers, emergency first responders and public service workers in danger while they are on the job protecting and serving the citizens and visitors of Florida.
“Our law enforcement, first responder, service/utility worker, as well as Road Ranger partners work on the side of the road in service to all of us,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Thibault, P.E. “Do your part to keep them safe. Slow down or move over so everyone can arrive home safely to their loved ones.”
“Our deputy sheriffs are on the highways day and night providing protection for our citizens that we so honorably serve. While traveling, if you see a first responder vehicle stopped on the shoulder of the roadway please move over to help protect those who protect you. On behalf of our Florida Sheriffs, I fully endorse the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles’ Move Over Campaign,” stated Sheriff Bobby Schultz President of the Florida Sheriffs Association.
“Every driver has a part to play in keeping law enforcement and other first responders safe. When you see a law enforcement or other vehicle with flashing lights, please slow down, move over, and give them space to stay safe,” said Chief Jeff Pearson, Satellite Beach Police Department and President of the Florida Police Chiefs Association. “And when you safely move over, you are signaling to the drivers behind you that they should follow your lead. By moving over, you are helping our law enforcement officers return home safely.”
“Our heroes on the roadside need your help,” said Matt Nasworthy, Florida Public Affairs Director, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “They can’t save our lives if we don’t protect theirs. Please do your part to Slow Down and Move Over.”
To comply with the Move Over Law drivers must:
• 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.
• 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.
• The public is encouraged to report aggressive drivers by dialing *FHP (*347). For more information on the Move Over Law, visit: flhsmv.gov/MoveOver