Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Florida Move Over Law

Back in 2008 I posted an entry on Florida's Move Over Law, the law that requires you, the motorist on Interstate 275 (or any other highway in the Tampa Bay metropolitan area), to move over or slow down for emergency vehicles on the side of the highway.  That includes Florida Highway Patrol cruisers with their blue lights activated as well as other law enforcement agencies, as well as fire/rescue and EMS vehicles and wrecker service vehicles as well.
As it has been a while since I posted this, and the fact that I have seen motorists out there that do not make an effort to keep our law enforcement and public safety personnel out there safe by not moving over for emergency vehicles, I am going to repost my 2008 entry on Florida's Move Over Law as a reminder.
Florida's Move Over Law is codified in the Florida Statutes at Section 316.126. Basically, what the Move Over law is that if you are approaching an emergency vehicle parked on the side of the highway with its emergency lights activated, you are required to move over to the next lane or reduce your speed by 20 mph. After all, this is a law that is there for your safety and protection.
So, what is an authorized emergency vehicle?
An emergency vehicle is any law enforcement vehicle (such as the Florida Highway Patrol, county sheriff or city police), fire/EMS vehicle, ambulance, or even a wrecker vehicle such as the Road Rangers we see on Interstate 275. You have seen them every day when you travel on Interstate 275 or any other highway in the Tampa Bay area. These emergency vehicles are the guardians of safety on the highway, whether it may be Interstate 275 or elsewhere.
I am driving in the right lane on Interstate 275; I see a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser parked to the side with its emergency lights activated. What do I do?
Florida law requires you – the driver – to vacate the lane you are in by moving over into the next available lane. However, there will be times that you cannot get over into the next available lane such as heavy traffic. In that case you must reduce your speed by at least 20 mph.
In a situation where the speed limit is 20 mph or less (such as an on or off ramp on Interstate 275, the short one way roads that connect the highway with the local streets), you must reduce your speed to 5 mph when you see emergency vehicles on the shoulder of the ramp.
In any event, you must follow the directions of a law enforcement officer, especially when you approach an accident scene, at all times. So, please give these hard working guardians of public safety your attention and please make room for them so that they can do their important work: Keeping you safe.
Since this 2008 blog entry was posted signage reminding motorists of Florida's Move Over Law was erected in the Miami/Ft. Lauderdale area initially.  The signage has expanded statewide, including the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and other Florida metro areas, not to mention the major entrances into the State of Florida on Interstates 75 and 95 from Georgia and Interstate 10 from Alabama.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

AMBER ALERT: Cole and Chase Haaken

We at are very grateful that Cole and Chase Haaken have been found and returned to their grandparents in Tampa safe and sound.  We are very grateful to the law enforcement agencies in our area that helped facilitate the recovery and return of these young children home, especially the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office and the FBI.  We are also very grateful to the U.S. State Department in the careful diplomatic dealings with the Government of Cuba in facilitating Cole and Chase Haaken's return to Tampa.

Moreover, we are also very grateful to the Government of Cuba in facilitating the return of Cole and Chase Haaken to Tampa and to American soil, despite the very minimal diplomatic relations between Cuba and the United States and the fact that Cuba is not a signatory to The Hague Convention as well as Cuba's poor track record in returning foreign fugitives to justice.

As for Joshua and Sharyn Haaken, the former parents of Cole and Chase Haaken whose parental rights were terminated by the State of Louisiana, they are incarcerated in the Hillsborough County Jail facing extremely serious charges which have the potential of life imprisonment in the Florida Department of Corrections.  May justice prevail as their cases progress through the Circuit Court of the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit.

Once again, we are very grateful that Cole and Chase Haaken are back at home and safe.  The AMBER Alert which was written when news of the abduction broke as you see below is being maintained as a historical archive.  As such, this AMBER Alert has been deactivated by law enforcement once the children were in safe hands.

This AMBER Alert is being posted here on the Interstate 275 Florida Blog as a public service, especially due to the seriousness of the circumstances surrounding this alert.
According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Cole and Chase Haaken were last seen at the home of relatives located at 14000 Shady Shores Drive in Tampa.  The two children are in the company of Joshua Haaken and Sharyn Haaken and are reported to be traveling in a 2006 GMC Sierra bearing Florida license plate U95KT.
Additionally, according to Tampa area media reports including the St. Petersburg Times and Bay News 9, both Cole and Chase Haaken were staying with relatives as the parents, Joshua and Sharyn Haaken, have had their parental rights terminated in Louisiana due to an incident that took place in Slidell last summer.  The children were initially placed in foster care in Louisiana but were sent to live with relatives in Florida recently.
As the parents have been reported to be involved with anti-government activity and an attempt was made to abduct the children from the Louisiana foster home at gunpoint, the parents are considered armed and dangerous.
If you have seen or know the whereabouts of Cole and Chase Haaken, please by all means contact the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office at (813) 247-8200 or by calling 911.  If you have OnStar in your vehicle press the red OnStar emergency button and let the OnStar agent know that you have an AMBER Alert sighting so that you can be conferenced in with emergency services.
Let's bring Cole and Chase Haaken home safe and sound and bring the non-custodial parents who took these children to justice.
Again, this AMBER Alert is being brought to you here on the Interstate 275 Florida Blog as a public service, especially due to the seriousness of the circumstances surrounding this AMBER Alert.