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Florida Move Over Laws

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Posted on December 15, 2022

Every day, first responders and other emergency personnel put their lives at risk to protect others. In an effort to make their jobs safer, Florida and many other states have passed Move Over Laws. These laws require other drivers to pull to a stop, move over or reduce their speeds when emergency vehicles are approaching or stopped on the side of the road. Breaking the Move Over Law can increase the risk of a driver striking an emergency or utility worker.

What Is Florida’s Move Over Law?

Florida Statutes Section 316.126 is the state’s Move Over Law. The first part of this law says that upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency, sanitation or utility service vehicle that is using its visual or audible signals, a motor vehicle driver must yield the right-of-way and immediately proceed to a position parallel to and as close as reasonable to the closest edge of the curb of the roadway (without blocking the intersection) and remain in a stopped position until the authorized vehicle has passed.

The second part of the law states that if an authorized vehicle is displaying signals while parked on the roadside, a driver must vacate the lane closest to the authorized vehicle (move over) when on a highway with two or more lanes traveling in the same direction, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer. If a driver cannot safely move over, he or she must slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour (mph) less than the posted speed limit if the limit is 25 mph or greater. If the speed limit is 20 mph or less, the driver must slow to 5 mph.

What Is an Authorized Vehicle?

Authorized vehicles under the Move Over Law include emergency vehicles such as ambulances and firetrucks, law enforcement patrol cars, sanitation vehicles, utility service vehicles, tow trucks, a wrecker that is displaying an amber rotating or flashing light on the roadside, or a road or bridge maintenance or construction vehicle. These vehicles must be displaying visual signals such as flashing lights or audible signals such as sirens or horns for the Move Over Law to apply.

What Are the Penalties for Breaking the Move Over Law?

Violating Florida’s Move Over Law is a noncriminal traffic infraction. This means that while it is not a crime and will not result in an arrest, it is a moving violation that can result in a fine of at least $120, other fees and 3 points on the driver’s record. In Florida, if a driver accumulates 12 points within 12 months, his or her license is suspended for 30 days. At 18 points within 18 months, the license is suspended for three months and at 24 points within 36 months, the license is suspended for one year. Lastly, the driver’s car insurance rates may increase.

What if a Car Accident Is Caused by the Failure to Move Over?

Florida’s Move Over Law is in place to protect emergency responders and allow them to perform the duties of their jobs more safely. It protects roadside workers from being hit by cars by giving them more space to move and work. If a driver who is approaching a stopped, authorized roadside vehicle negligently fails to move over or slow down, the violation of the Move Over Law could make the driver liable if a worker is hurt or killed in a resultant car accident.

All drivers in Florida have a legal responsibility to obey the Move Over Law and react appropriately to an approaching or stopped roadside emergency vehicle. If a worker or emergency responder is injured or killed in an accident that is caused by a careless or reckless driver, the driver’s car insurance company can be held financially responsible. If the driver’s actions are deemed grossly negligent or reckless, he or she could potentially face criminal charges for causing the worker’s death, as well.

If you get injured in a car accident involving a driver’s failure to move over, contact a Tampa accident lawyer from Vanguard Attorneys for a free case consultation. You may be entitled to financial compensation.