You may have seen the phrase “Move Over” on billboards lately. You will probably see it a lot more often as January is Florida’s official “Move Over” month. Move Over Month is a safety awareness campaign teaching drivers how to avoid accidents with law enforcement and emergency vehicles.

If you are not quite sure what “moving over” is all about, the Montero Law Center can help shed some light on this relatively new Florida safety campaign.

Florida’s “Move Over” Laws 

In 2016 alone, there were 204 crashes and 68 injuries that drivers could have prevented had they simply changed lanes or slowed down.

Broward County alone saw 24 “move over” crashes and 14 resulting injuries, the third-highest in the state. These accidents were part of the 36 percent increase of “move over” accidents, reports the Palm Beach Post.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) is doing everything in its power to reverse this trend, including spreading the word about “moving over” on road signs and even social media.  

Although the FLHSMV’s “Move Over” campaign only started last year, the law has required Florida drivers to move over for certain vehicles since 2002. Under Florida Statute § 316.126, drivers must change lanes or slow down anytime one of the following vehicles is stopped on the side of the road:

  • Police cars
  • Ambulances
  • Firetrucks
  • Tow trucks
  • Garbage trucks
  • Utility vehicles

If you spot one of these vehicles on the right side of the road, you must get out of the right lane as soon as possible. Always use your signal and allow other drivers to get out of the right lane as well.

If you are unable to get out of the lane, for example, if traffic is too congested or there is only one lane to begin with, then you must slow down to at least 20 miles per hour under the speed limit. If the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, drivers must reduce their speed to five miles per hour.

The law also requires drivers to slow down and if possible, pull over to the side of the road, if any emergency vehicle is traveling to an emergency site while using sirens and emergency lights. Furthermore, under this law, even pedestrians must yield right-of-way to emergency vehicles.

Penalties for Ignoring the “Move Over” Laws

Even if you do not cause an accident, failing to move over or slow down when an emergency vehicle is on the side of the road is illegal in Florida. In 2016 alone, police officers issued over 5,500 citations for these types of traffic violations.

Penalties for this type of traffic violation includes a fine, additional fees, and three points on your driver’s license. Obviously, the penalties are harsher and possibly even criminal if your actions lead to an accident.

For more information on Florida’s driver laws and driving safety tips, read our news blog. And if you or a loved one needs help after a car accident, contact a car accident attorney at the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500 to set up your consultation.