Florida’s New “Move Over” Law

Get Ready to Move Over

Most of us are aware of Florida’s “move over” law. The law that was originally conceived to keep law enforcement officers and emergency responders safe on the sides of Florida’s highways requires motorists to vacate the lane closest to emergency vehicles. If it’s not safe to move over, or it’s a two-lane roadway, motorists must slow down to a speed at least 20 mph below the speed limit. If the speed limit is 20 mph or less, the motorist must slow down to 5 mph or less. Failure to comply with this law could result in a traffic citation for a moving violation carrying a fine of $165 or more and three points on a driver’s license.

This law has been revised following the death of 41-year-old Kit Tappen, who was standing by a tow truck on a June Saturday morning along interstate 95 in St. Johns County when he was struck and killed by a tractor trailer. In addition to tow trucks, the law now requires motorists to give extra room to garbage trucks and utility vehicles.

Many believe the addition to the law is well-founded. Citing the National Waste and Recycling Association, garbage giant Waste Management reports that being struck by motorists is a leadings cause of death for waste and recycling employees. But will the expansion have the intended effect? Just last month Trooper Chelsea Richard was killed along interstate 75 while assisting a family that had been in an accident.