TAMPA — The Auto Club Group applauds Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for signing HB 425, which strengthens the state’s Move Over law. For years, Florida drivers have been lawfully required to slow down and move over for first responders on the roadside. With the expanded law, Florida becomes the 17th state requiring motorists to also move over for a broken-down vehicle on the roadside.
With the Governor’s signature, enforcement of HB 425 will begin on Jan. 1, 2024. According to the bill, drivers would be required to move over for a disabled vehicle displaying either its hazard lights, emergency flares or emergency signage. Violators could be cited with a noncriminal moving violation and a fine of up to $158.
“AAA began advocating for a stronger law late last year with our ‘Move Over for Me’ campaign,” said Mark Jenkins, Public Relations Manager for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “We are extremely grateful that Florida lawmakers took this necessary action to enhance protection for all motorists, in addition to the first responders who come to their aid.”
Historically, the roadside has been a dangerous place for disabled motorists and emergency workers.
• From 2016-2020, an average of nearly 350 people per year were struck and killed while outside a disabled vehicle on the roadside.
• On average, two emergency responders, including tow workers, are struck and killed every month by a driver who fails to obey the law by moving over to an adjacent lane and allowing the roadside rescuers the space to operate, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
• Roadside crashes are notably deadly for tow workers. Government data shows that tow operators are killed at a rate of almost 43 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to just three for all other industries.
“These heroes put their lives on the line every time they rescue someone on the roadside,” said Jenkins. “We ask that drivers minimize distractions and constantly pay attention to the road ahead of you. Doing so could save lives.”
To protect these roadside workers and all stranded motorists, AAA offers these tips:
• Remain alert, avoid distractions and focus on driving.
• Keep an eye out for emergency vehicles – including tow trucks – that have their lights on as well as cars that have their flashers on. Move over one lane when you see them and if you can’t move over, slow down to safely pass them.
• Be a good passenger – help identify roadway issues and remind the driver to slow down and move over.
• Watch for people on the roadside -- just because you don’t immediately see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there, bent down by their vehicle, in front of the vehicle, or about to get in or out of the vehicle.
• Pull as far over on the shoulder safely possible to create more distance between your vehicle and oncoming traffic.
• Turn your hazard lights on so other drivers are aware you are in distress.
• If you are able to safely make it to the next exit or stopping point, do so.
• Call for assistance, whether via phone, website or AAA app.
• Remain with your vehicle as long as it’s safe to do so.
• If getting out of your vehicle, watch the oncoming traffic for a good time to exit, and remain close to your vehicle. Try to avoid turning your back to traffic whenever possible.