January is Move Over Month in the Sunshine State and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) are reminding all motorists of Florida’s Move Over Law to help protect law enforcement officers, first responders, and other public servants while they provide critical services in one of the most dangerous environments—the side of the roadway.
In an FLHSMV press release, while the majority of drivers understand to pull over for emergency vehicles approaching from behind, state law also requires vehicles to move over a lane for certain emergency and service vehicles stopped on the side of the road, or slow down if they cannot safely move over.
Effective July 2021, Florida motorists are also now required to move over for road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicles displaying warning lights. Preliminary data from FLHSMV shows that in 2021, there were 191 crashes and more than 14,000 citations issued for motorists failing to move over in Florida.
“Moving over and slowing down for emergency and service vehicles is law in Florida; but by doing so, drivers are also displaying a nod of support to the men and women who call the road their office,” said FLHSMV Executive Director Terry L. Rhodes in the release. “Crashes that occur because of a driver that failed to move over are completely preventable; they take our officers and members of our communities away from their families, who gave freely to make Florida a safer place to live and travel. As you head to your destinations this year, remember these four words if you see flashing lights: slow down, move over.”
Throughout the month of January, Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) troopers will continue to educate the public, individuals not complying with the Move Over Law, and other motorists they come into contact with. The public is encouraged to report aggressive or dangerous drivers by dialing *FHP (*347).
All 50 states in the U.S. have Move Over laws in place, and Florida’s Move Over Law was added to section 316.126, Florida Statutes, in 2002. The statute, which was originally introduced in 1971, requires motorists to move or yield right-of-way to emergency vehicles. In 2014, utility and sanitation vehicles were added to the Move Over Law, and most recently, in 2021, road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicles displaying warning lights were added.
Complying with Florida’s Move Over Law:
- As soon as it is safe to do so, vacate the lane closest to the stationary emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, wrecker, or road and bridge maintenance or construction vehicle when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes.
- Always signal your intention to change lanes.
- Be prepared to allow those who are attempting to move over into the next lane.
- If moving over cannot be safely accomplished, slow down to a speed that is 20 mph less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 mph or greater; or travel at 5 mph when the posted speed limit is 20 mph or less when driving on a two-lane road.