TALLAHASSEE — January is Move Over Month, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) and its division of the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) are reminding all motorists of Florida’s Move Over Law to help protect law enforcement officers, first responders, and other public servants while they provide critical services in one of the most dangerous environments – the side of the roadway.
While majority of drivers understand to pull over for emergency vehicles approaching from behind, state law also requires vehicles to move over a lane for certain emergency and service vehicles stopped on the side of the road, or slow down if they cannot safely move over. In 2021, there were 217 crashes and 14,927 citations issued for motorists failing to move over in Florida.
“The Move Over Law protects the men and women who call the road their office each day and ensures that they make it home safely to their families,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes. “Law enforcement, first responders, and service, utility, and construction professionals provide critical services to motorists in one of the most dangerous work environments. It is critical that motorists abide by the law and move over or slow down for these brave workers so that they can do their job and most importantly, make it home safely each day.”
Throughout the month of January, FHP troopers will continue to educate the public, individuals not complying with the Move Over Law, and other motorists they come into contact with. The public is encouraged to report aggressive or dangerous drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).
“The Move Over Law protects our law enforcement, emergency first responders, and other service vehicles on Florida’s roadways,” said Colonel Gene Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Please give our public service professionals the room they need to deliver critical services to Florida’s citizens and visitors.”
All 50 states in the U.S. have Move Over laws in place, and Florida’s 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. In 2014, utility and sanitation vehicles were added to the Move Over Law, and most recently, in 2021, road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicles displaying warning lights were added.
FLHSMV is 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 to ensure all emergency and service professionals that work on and along Florida’s roadways Arrive Alive in 2023.
“Respecting the Move Over Law is essential for the courageous responders who assist with roadside incidents and truly makes an incredible impact. Moving over to allow responders to safely perform their duties without increased risks is the least we can do to show appreciation for their important work,” said Florida Department of Transportation Secretary Jared W. Perdue, P.E. “The Department is proud to partner with Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles on this important campaign as our FDOT Road Rangers and other responders work tirelessly day and night to assist with traffic incidents and help motorists in a time of need.”
“Law enforcement officers work hard to keep our roadways safe, and so we’re proud to recognize January as Move Over Month,” said Fellsmere Police Department Chief Keith Touchberry, President of the Florida Chiefs Association. “When you see a law enforcement vehicle stopped on the road, please move over and give them the space they need to do their jobs. If you can’t safely move over, slow all the way down, at least 20 mph slower than the speed limit.”
“Florida’s deputies and other first responders are constantly in harm’s way during traffic stops and crash investigations. The Move Over law helps keep them safe. Please do your part to protect those who protect you on Florida’s roads by ‘moving over’ to another lane,” stated Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis, President of the Florida Sheriffs Association.
“Nearly 350 people are struck and killed outside a disabled vehicle each year,” said Michele Harris, Florida Public Affairs Director for AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Motorists should slow down and move over for all vehicles on the roadside; an emergency vehicle or tow provider with flashing lights or a disabled vehicle belonging to a driver with their hazard lights on.”
Information on Florida’s Move Over Law and downloadable campaign materials can be found on FLHSMV’s Move Over webpage. In addition to the awareness campaign, FLHSMV educates new and young drivers on the Move Over Law year-round with information in the Florida Driver Handbook and includes Move Over questions on the Florida driver knowledge exam.