10 Facts on Florida’s “Move Over Law”

When you see an emergency vehicle on the side of the road helping a car, what do you do?  Keep driving?  Make room?  Not even really think about it?

Every driver falls into one of these three categories.  Many are unaware of such a law, which protects emergency and other roadside personnel while dealing with a matter.  A wreck, a broken down vehicle, a utility worker picking up trash.  All these things apply.

By Travisstryker (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Fact Number 1

If you’re on a two lane road, or if you can’t get over safely on a 4 or more lane road, slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

I saw this a few weeks ago on a six-lane 50 MPH road.  A police cruiser had a car pulled over.  A driver in the right lane who couldn’t get over came to a dead stop in the right lane until they could get over.  This is unnecessary and extremely dangerous. 

The correct thing to do in this scenario:  Maintain travel in the far right lane, but slow down to 30 MPH while passing the police cruiser.  

Fact Number 2

If the speed limit of the road is 20 miles per hour or less, slow your speed to 5 miles per hour.  

This would apply mainly to residential streets where you’d be likely to have limited room to navigate around a vehicle quickly anyway.

Fact Number 3

The “Move Over Law” is officially Florida Statute 316.126.

This statute includes pedestrians who could impede progress of an emergency vehicle.  Pedestrians shall yield the right-of-way until the emergency vehicle has cleared or until otherwise directed by law enforcement.

Fact Number 4

The “Move Over Law” isn’t just for law enforcement or emergency vehicles.

It also applies to utility service vehicles, such as power trucks.  Sanitation vehicles, tow trucks, and Road Rangers are also covered under this law.  Treat all of these vehicles with the same latitude as listed in facts 1 and 2.

Fact Number 5

The “Move Over Law” became officially enacted in 2002 as a way to protect service workers who work alongside the road, preventing against tragic accidents.

Fact Number 6

Violations of the “Move Over Law” include fines and three points on your driver’s license.  

Law considers this a moving violation with violations penalized much the same way as other infractions such as speeding, improper lane changes, and wreckless driving.

Fact Number 7

The main reason given by drivers for violations of the “Move Over Law” is because drivers didn’t see anyone standing outside of the vehicle.

The law counts the same way whether anyone is visibly outside of the vehicle or not.  Always assume that someone will be getting out of the vehicle at any second and act accordingly.

Fact Number 8

Violation of the “Move Over Law” is a primary offense.

Violators can be stopped for this reason alone.  A secondary offense where an officer has to witness another violation previously.

Fact Number 9

Move Over violations result in at least 100 accidents per year on Florida roadways.

2016 was a record year with 204 accidents, up 36% from 2015.

Fact Number 10

Florida law enforcement officers issue over 5,500 citations per year to violators of the “Move Over Law.”

Many more are pulled over and issued a warning by officers.  Violations are seen as an opportunity to educate motorists.

2 Replies to “10 Facts on Florida’s “Move Over Law””

  1. I agree everyone should move over a lane for emergency vehicles. They have a very dangerous job. You will be ticketed if the officer is parked in the median, with lights on. No other vehicles are around the officers car. A 10 ft emergency lane, clear of vehicles, is between you and the officers vehicle. You still need to move over another lane; you can be ticketed. I-75, Charlotte county, Fl. The law just isn’t clear on how much room to give emergency vehicles. More information about this law needs to be made aware to the public.

    1. No question, Florida drivers do need more awareness. This month is “move over” month, and hopefully with increased ad campaigns people can become aware. Thanks for reading, Wesley!

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