Veterans Day is a three-day holiday for many in the state of Florida, and as with any long weekend, it means increased traffic on the roadways. It also marks the arrival of the upcoming holiday travel season where there will be increased police presence and emergency vehicles on the roadways as well. With more people taking to the roads throughout Florida between now and the end of the year, it is a good time to remind Florida drivers of the “Move Over Law.”

Enacted in 2002, the Move Over Law is designed to increase the safety of first responders on Florida highways. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), during the five-year period of 1996 to 2000, “motorists in Florida crashed into working law enforcement vehicles that were either stopped or parked along Florida roadways 1,793 times, resulting in five deaths and 419 injuries.”

Just this week in Palm Bay, 30 miles north of Vero Beach and the Treasure Coast, a car struck a police cruiser stopped on the side of the road assisting another motorist. The woman being assisted by the officer was hit by the vehicle and was taken to the hospital in critical condition. The police officer escaped injury, according to WFTV 9.

The Move Over Law requires motorists to slow down and/or move over when approaching an emergency vehicle, depending on the type of roadway, allowing the officer a safety area.

Specifically, according to FLHSMV’s website, the move over law states:

  • You must slow down to a speed 20 MPH less than the posted speed limit on a two-lane roadway.
  • You must slow down to 5 MPH if the speed limit is 20 MPH or less.
  • If you are driving on a roadway or interstate with numerous lanes of travel in the same direction and you approach a law enforcement or emergency vehicle that is parked along the roadway or interstate, you must vacate the lane that is nearest to that vehicle once it is safe to do so. If you unable to move over safely, you must slow down to 20 MPH below the posted speed limit unless a law enforcement officer directs you otherwise.

The law also requires motorists to give way to wreckers and tow trucks with flashing lights conducting work on the side of the road. Violation of this law not only puts the emergency responders at risk, but it can also result in fines for you if you fail to obey the requirements.

The Florida Highway Patrol runs periodic campaigns reminding Florida drivers of this law with the slogan, “the emergency workers are looking out for you, so look out for them too.”

Although this is a law pertaining to motorists when approaching emergency vehicles, our Florida car accident lawyers encourage drivers to move over when coming upon any vehicles on the side of the road. Giving those pulled over room can keep our roadways safer. Enjoy your time visiting family and friends, and obey Florida’s traffic laws to ensure you arrive at your destination safely.

About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney

The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida on the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s practice areas include car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, product liability, dog bite injuries, swimming pool accidents, slip and fall injuries, medical malpractice, and wrongful death claims.

Our law firm represents victims of car accidents across South Florida, including Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Stuart, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Vero Beach and Palm Beach, and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast. Call 1-800-299-8878 now to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.