Expansion of Florida’s ‘Move Over Law’ signed by Governor DeSantis

DeSantis signs bill expanding Florida’s ‘Move Over Law’

Driving on the highways can be dangerous, especially for first responders such as firefighters, police officers, and tow truck operators who try to help people in need. The ‘Move Over Law’ is a crucial regulation to ensure the safety of these essential workers, and on June 29th, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed a bill expanding this law. The amendment widens the scope of the law to cover sanitation and utility vehicles. In this article, we will discuss in detail the move-over law, the recent expansion, its importance, and the penalties for violating the law.

What is the ‘Move Over Law’?

The ‘Move Over Law’ is a road safety regulation that requires drivers to move over to the adjacent lane or slow down when passing an emergency or service vehicle parked on the side of the road. The law initially implemented in 2002, aimed to reduce roadside crashes and to create a safer environment for first responders. The law requires drivers to move over to the next lane or slow down to twenty miles per hour below the posted speed limit when there is an emergency vehicle with flashing lights on the shoulder of the road. The purpose of the law is to provide a safety buffer for first responders.

Recent Expansion of the ‘Move Over Law’

On June 29th, 2021, Governor DeSantis signed Senate bill 62, amending the ‘Move Over Law.’ The bill expands the scope of the ‘Move Over Law’ to cover not only police cars, firefighters, and ambulances but also sanitation trucks and utility vehicles. The expansion came following the death of a sanitation worker who got hit by a car in St. Petersburg in November 2020. The new law requires drivers to move over when approaching sanitation or utility vehicles that have equipment lights flashing or amber lights. If they can’t move over, they must reduce their speed to twenty miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

The Importance of the Move Over Law

Roadside accidents caused by drivers’ failure to move over have increased significantly in the United States. In 2019, more than 44,200 crashes happened due to drivers not moving over. These crashes resulted in 39,000 injuries and 184 fatalities. The ‘Move Over Law’ aims at reducing the threat of such accidents, protecting not only the first responders but also roadside workers like garbage collectors and utility workers. The primary aim of the law is to ensure safety on the road and prevent devastating accidents. Furthermore, by reducing the number of accidents caused by failure to move over, the law reduces the number of financial and emotional burdens placed on families, friends, and co-workers of roadside workers.

Penalties for Violating the ‘Move Over Law’

Penalties for violating the ‘Move Over Law’ varies depending on the severity of the offense and the state in which the violation occurred. In Florida, the penalties range from fines to jail time, as well as points added to the driver’s licenses. For instance, on the first offense, the driver may receive a ticket worth $100. If the driver causes property damage or injures a person, the penalty increases to $500. If the violation results in death or serious bodily harm, the driver may face penalties of up to $10,000 in fines and jail time of up to five years. In some states, driving privileges may be suspended, and additional fees and courses can be required if the driver is convicted of violating the ‘Move Over Law.’

Conclusion

Roadside workers and first responders face immense risks when performing their jobs on the side of the road, and accidents caused by drivers’ failure to move over can be tragic and costly. Expanding the ‘Move Over Law’ is an important step to ensure that these workers’ safety is a top priority. Governor DeSantis signing Senate bill 62 is a significant achievement in preventing roadside accidents and reducing the number of injuries and fatalities. By educating the public about the importance of the ‘Move Over Law’ and its expansion in Florida, we can help save lives and protect those who protect us.

Avi Adkins

Avi Adkins is a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. With years of experience in the field, Adkins has established himself as a respected figure in journalism.

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