As you drive along the road, your heart skips a beat: flashing lights ahead of you. For a brief moment, you worry that maybe an accident has stopped traffic ahead, or perhaps road construction has caused heavy delays.
But as you look closer, you realize that the lights belong to a street sweeping vehicle. It chugs along slowly, and you want to drive faster just so you don’t have to deal with the slower traffic.
According to Florida’s new Move Over law, you should make room for more than just police or emergency vehicles.
What Is The New Law?
Effective July 1, 2014, Florida’s Move Over law encourages drivers to slow down and clear the lane for authorized emergency, sanitation, or utility service vehicles. This law protects police, fire, and other emergency workers, as many passing cars have hit them.
For example, Trooper Chelsea Richard was investigating a crash on Interstate 75. She was speaking with a tow truck driver and one of the occupants when another vehicle crashed into them. Both Richard and the truck driver died at the scene.
How Can You Follow the Law?
The law states you must slow down at least 20 mph less than the posted speed limit. So if you drive the Florida Turnpike and the limit is 70 mph, you need to drop your speed to 50 mph when you approach these emergency vehicles. If the speed limit is less than 20 miles per hour, you must slow your speed to 5 mph.
See a utility vehicle parked on the side of a multi-lane road? You must change lanes away from the vehicle as soon as you can safely do so.
For two-lane roads, you must slow your speed and approach the sanitation vehicle with caution, unless an emergency worker directs you to do otherwise.
What If You Can’t Pull Over Safely?
If you can’t pull over safely, you must still adjust your speed. Do not stop in the roadway or block the flow of traffic. Stay alert and pay attention to the drivers around you.
Fines for Violating the New Law
If you fail to move over, you may receive a $120 penalty fine (depending on the county) as well as 3 points on your driver’s license.
Even worse, you put emergency workers as well as the drivers around you at risk for an accident.
Want to Learn More?
View highlights of the law here http://www.flhsmv.gov/safetytips/moveovertips.htm.
If you want to read Florida’s exact law in detail, click here. Or if you have any further questions about the law, email FHP@FLHSMV.GOV.