Florida’s Move Over Law Recently Expanded
Florida lawmakers have recently expanded the state’s Move Over Law to cover more than just emergency vehicles. This new law, which was signed by Governor Ron DeSantis, will now require drivers to move over a lane for any broken-down vehicles. The new law will take effect January 1, 2024.
Currently, the state’s Move Over law requires all drivers to move over a lane, when they can do so safely, for any stopped law enforcement vehicle and emergency responders. More specifically, the law requires drivers to move over a lane for the following types of vehicles:
- Emergency responders,
- Stopped law enforcement,
- Tow trucks or wreckers,
- Sanitation and utility service vehicles, and
- Construction or maintenance vehicles with displayed warning lights without advanced signs or channelizing drivers.
However, the new law, House Bill 425, provides three additional situations where drivers in Florida must ‘move over.’ Under the new law, drivers are required to move over if:
- The driver approaches a disabled motor vehicle on the side of the road that is stopped and displaying warning lights or hazard lights,
- If the driver approaches a vehicle that is stopped and is using emergency flares or posting emergency signage, or
- If the driver approaches a stopped vehicle on the side of the road where one or more persons are visibly present.
These three new situations add to the ones already required of drivers on Florida roads.
In the event a driver approaches one of these stopped vehicles and is not able to safely move over, or if the driver is on a two-lane road, he or she should do the following:
- Slow the vehicle down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit, or
- Slow the vehicle down to 5 mph when the posted speed limit is 20 mph or less.
Not moving over will result in the driver facing fines, fees, and points on his or her driving record.
Between 2016 and 2020, an average of 350 people annually were struck and killed while outside a disabled vehicle on the road. An average of two emergency responders were struck and killed every month for drivers who failed to move over, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Tow truck drivers are also at high risk of being struck while working off the side of the road. Statistics show that tow truck drivers are killed at a rate of 43 deaths per 100,000 while assisting broken down vehicles off the side of the road.
Fortunately, these types of accidents and fatalities can be avoided. We recommend drivers follow these safe driving tips:
- Avoid distractions while driving, remaining alert and focused,
- Be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for emergency vehicles and tow trucks or any vehicles that have flashing lights on. If you see a vehicle stopped ahead of you, be sure to move over safely and slowly.
- If you see a vehicle stopped off the side of the road, look for people also on the roadside. Just because they may not be immediately visible does not mean that they are not there.
- If you are a passenger, help the driver identify any roadway issues ahead, and remind them to slow down and move over for any stopped vehicles on the side of the road.
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