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.

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