First responders regularly put themselves in harm’s way to serve others. Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and paramedics respond to vehicle crashes and other incidents to render aid. Their frequent presence on the side of a busy roadway is one of the most dangerous parts of their jobs.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, last year alone there were 159 crashes as a result of a driver failing to move over. Fortunately, none of those crashes resulted in a fatality, but four victims suffered incapacitating injuries.

While the dangers of working along busy roadways have always been present, the Mover Over Law has not. Enacted in 2002, it requires that drivers 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. This includes road rangers, public utility vehicles, and tow trucks. Although there is some version of the law in all 50 states, many motorists are still unaware of it. In 2020, more than 12,000 violators were issued citations for failing to move over in the State of Florida.

Take some time to familiarize yourself with the requirements of the law to make sure that you are not putting first responders and other service providers in danger:

  • On multi-lane roadways, vacate the lane closest to the stopped authorized vehicle. If you cannot safely move over, slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.
  • On two-lane roadways, slow down to a speed of 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit. If the speed limit is 20 miles per hour, travel at 5 miles per hour.
  • Always be cognizant of other vehicles that may be attempting to move over or slow down.

Staying alert behind the wheel and following a few simple rules could prevent serious injury and save lives. 

Posted by Verliz Williams Monday, January 3, 2022 1:23:00 PM

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