January is Move Over Month in the Sunshine State, 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 a 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. Effective July 2021, Florida motorists are also required to move over for road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicles displaying warning lights. Preliminary data from FLHSMV shows that in 2021, there were 191 crashes and more than 14,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over in Florida.
“Moving over and slowing down for emergency and service vehicles is law in Florida; but by doing so, drivers are also displaying a nod of support to the men and women who call the road their office,” said FLHSMV Executive Director, Terry L. Rhodes.“Crashes that occur because of a driver that failed to move over are completely preventable; they take our officers and members of our communities away from their families, who gave freely to make Florida a safer place to live and travel. As you head to your destinations this year, remember these four words if you see flashing lights: slow down, move over.”
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).
“Florida Troopers put their lives on the line each and every day on our roadways,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol.“Please remember to Move Over for all our first responders and critical service providers, so they can return home safely to their families at the end of the day.”
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 the 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 2022.
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.
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