Florida Highway Patrol’s Move-Over Enforcement Nets 1,200 Citations in 29 Days
FlaglerLive | March 5, 2012
The Florida Highway Patrol today announced the preliminary enforcement results from the Patrol’s Move Over campaign. During the 29-day period, the Patrol placed heavy emphasis on getting drivers to Move Over for stopped emergency vehicles on Florida’s roadways. Troopers issued more than 69,000 traffic citations and made 620 arrests for Driving Under the Influence of alcohol or drugs. They cited nearly 24,000 drivers for speeding, and citations for failure to Move Over topped 1,200.
The “Move Over Act” passed during the 2002 session of the Florida Legislature and was signed by Gov. Jeb Bush. It went into effect July 1, 2002. The law requires drivers to move over one lane or slow down to 20 miles per hour below the speed limit when approaching any authorized emergency vehicle or wrecker displaying rotating or flashing lights stopped on the side of a roadway.
“Law enforcement officers are out there every day working to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities. Motorists need to know the rules of the road, such as the Move Over law, and abide by them,” said Col. David Brierton, director of the Florida Highway Patrol. “Over the past two months, three of our troopers have been struck by motorists while working on our highways.”
Trooper Richard Guzman’s vehicle was struck on Jan. 4, in Hillsborough County. Vehicles also hit Trooper David Rodriguez on Jan. 26 in Orange County and Trooper Daniel Morley on Feb. 23 in Palm Beach County. Some law enforcement officers were not as lucky: Deputy Ryan Seguin, a 23-year-old deputy of the Broward County Sheriff’s Office, was struck and killed by a passing vehicle on Feb. 15, 2006, while he conducted a traffic stop on Interstate 595 in Broward County.
Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Darryl Haywood, Jr.’s cruiser was struck on Jan. 22, 2006, on Florida’s Turnpike just south of the Hollywood Boulevard exit. Haywood had just stopped a motorist and was in his cruiser, writing a citation on the west shoulder of the Turnpike, when a Dodge pick-up truck rear-ended his patrol car. The pick-up truck overturned and came to rest in the center lane of the Turnpike. It took rescue crews about 30 minutes to extricate Haywood from his car. He was airlifted to a Miami trauma center. He’s recovered since.
Trooper Adam Heinlein is lucky to be alive after a tractor-trailer traveling south on U.S. 27, at about 60 miles per hour, smashed against the driver’s side of his cruiser on Feb. 16, 2006. Heinlein was sitting in the driver’s seat, working on his computer, when the tractor-trailer sideswiped the police car. At the time of the crash, the individual who had just been stopped by Heinlein was standing near the right front fender of the patrol car. The victim got cuts on his neck from flying glass and was transported to a nearby hospital with minor injuries.
Motorists should remember that *FHP (*347) dialed from a cellphone contacts FHP when they need to report an aggressive driver or require roadside assistance.
Florida’s Move Over Law (Florida Statute §316.126):
(1)(a) Upon the immediate approach of an authorized emergency vehicle, while en route to meet an existing emergency, the driver of every other vehicle shall, when such emergency vehicle is giving audible signals by siren, exhaust whistle, or other adequate device, or visible signals by the use of displayed blue or red lights, yield the right-of-way to the emergency vehicle and shall immediately proceed to a position parallel to, and as close as reasonable to the closest edge of the curb of the roadway, clear of any intersection and shall stop and remain in position until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by any law enforcement officer.
(b) When an authorized emergency vehicle making use of any visual signals is parked or a wrecker displaying amber rotating or flashing lights is performing a recovery or loading on the roadside, the driver of every other vehicle, as soon as it is safe: 1. Shall vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle or wrecker when driving on an interstate highway or other highway with two or more lanes traveling in the direction of the emergency vehicle or wrecker, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
2. Shall slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit when the posted speed limit is 25 miles per hour or greater; or travel at 5 miles per hour when the posted speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, when driving on a two-lane road, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer.
(c) The Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles shall provide an educational awareness campaign informing the motoring public about the Move Over Act. The department shall provide information about the Move Over Act in all newly printed driver’s license educational materials after July 1, 2002.
This section shall not relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.
(2) Every pedestrian using the road right-of-way shall yield the right-of-way until the authorized emergency vehicle has passed, unless otherwise directed by any police officer.
(3) Any authorized emergency vehicle, when en route to meet an existing emergency, shall warn all other vehicular traffic along the emergency route by an audible signal, siren, exhaust whistle, or other adequate device or by a visible signal by the use of displayed blue or red lights. While en route to such emergency, the emergency vehicle shall otherwise proceed in a manner consistent with the laws regulating vehicular traffic upon the highways of this state.
(4) Nothing herein contained shall diminish or enlarge any rules of evidence or liability in any case involving the operation of an emergency vehicle.
(5) This section shall not operate to relieve the driver of an authorized emergency vehicle from the duty to drive with due regard for the safety of all persons using the highway.
(6) A violation of this section is a noncriminal traffic infraction, punishable pursuant to chapter 318 as either a moving violation for infractions of subsection (1) or subsection (3), or as a pedestrian violation for infractions of subsection (2).