In an effort to reduce highway accidents, the Florida Move Over Law requires drivers to move over when approaching a stopped vehicle on the highway. It was enacted in 2002 and in the nearly two decades since then, it has become a staple of highway safety and has been adopted in many other states.
But recent news stories have questioned how effective the law has been in actually reducing highway accidents.
What is the Florida Move Over Law?
Following a spate of crashes in which first responders were killed and injured at the scene of highway accidents, the Florida Legislature enacted a law intended to reduce the danger to first responders and other roadside workers and officials. The Move Over Law requires drivers to move over a lane or slow down to 20 miles below the posted speed limit when passing stopped law enforcement, emergency, sanitation, utility service vehicles, and tow trucks or wreckers.
This law is intended to give officers and other workers more space to operate safely. In 2017, Florida law enforcement issued nearly 17,000 tickets for violations of this law, which can add points to your driving record and cost you money in fines, court fees, and higher insurance rates.
What are the penalties for violating the law?
In Florida, motorists are required to move over for emergency and service vehicles stopped on the side of the road or slow down if they cannot safely move over. This is known as the Move Over Law, which was added to section 316.126, Florida Statutes, in 2002.
This law includes utility and sanitation vehicles, added in 2014, and road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicles displaying warning lights, which were added in 2021. The law requires motorists to move over into an adjacent lane when they approach law enforcement, emergency vehicles, utility service vehicles, tow trucks, and other authorized vehicles that are parked on the side of the road with their lights activated. If a motorist is unable to move over safely, they must slow down to a speed that is 20 miles per hour lower than the posted speed limit
All 50 states in the U.S. have Move Over laws in place, and according to preliminary data from FLHSMV, there were 191 crashes and more than 14,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over in Florida in 2021. Violators of the law face fines of $164 plus court costs and three points on their driver’s license.
However, the effect of this law on reducing highway accidents and protecting those who are working on the side of the road has been minimal. According to ABC Action News, FHP statistics show the number of highway accidents, injuries and deaths from drivers who failed to move over remains relatively unchanged year after year. “It’s a good law, unfortunately we still have people who break the law, so we still see the crashes and we still see people getting tickets,” Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins said.
Like most highway accidents, failure to obey the Move Over Law is a from of negligence. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, talk to an Orlando car accident attorney at the Martinez Manglardi personal injury law firm. Call 866-730-3508 for a free consultation. Convenient locations throughout Central Florida.