James Savage Jr., of The Villages, south of Ocala, recently told his hometown paper why giving a wide berth to first responders at a roadside collision is important to him. Savage’s father was a 42-year-old Connecticut State Trooper when an auto collision killed him. He had stopped to help a stranded motorist. “I beg of you to ‘Move Over’ when you see flashing lights,” Savage told Villages-News.com. “It’s been hard, he missed my graduation and prom…”
For good measure, the Florida Highway Patrol is reinforcing the message to move over for a roadside emergency. Police kicked off a campaign earlier in the year to make drivers more aware of the dangers first responders face while working Florida’s highways.
Officials say their efforts are helping to spread the word among Central Florida drivers about the dangers of adding to the tragedy of an auto collision. Failure to move over when driving past officials or workers at an incident at the side of the road causes more than 300 car crashes a year in Florida, with dozens of serious injuries. Despite calls for alertness, the number of car crashes involving unsafe passing of roadside emergencies peaked in 2016, with 444 auto accidents resulting in 26 serious injuries. Seventeen of the accidents happened in Orange County.
Florida Law says to Move Over for an Auto Accident
Florida enacted a law in 2002 to reduce the danger to first responders and other roadside workers and officials. The law states that a driver must move over a lane in certain situations. This includes “stopped law enforcement, emergency, sanitation, utility service vehicles and tow trucks or wreckers.”
If you cannot move over, the law requires you to slow down to 20 miles below the posted speed limit. Florida law enforcement issued nearly 17,000 tickets for violations in 2017. Violations can add points to your driving record and cost you money in fines, court fees, and higher insurance rates.
Negligent driving causes accidents and injuries. If carelessness has hurt you, contact the Orlando auto accident attorneys at Martinez Manglardi. With offices throughout Central Florida, we’ve been fighting for personal injury victims for over 30 years. Call 407-846-2240 for a free consultation.