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Florida Highway Patrol’s Move-Over Enforcement Nets 1,200 Citations in 29 Days

| March 5, 2012

When vehicles don't move over. (Florida Highway Patrol)

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).

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13 Responses for “Florida Highway Patrol’s Move-Over Enforcement Nets 1,200 Citations in 29 Days”

  1. Gotta be a better way says:

    Drivers should be required to pull over when it is safe to do so. It is not always safe to move over-especially in a construction area , and on the interstate which then at times creates an unsafe situation for a driver and moving traffic. What’s wrong with an escort or lead to a safe location to pull over?

  2. Billybob says:

    Section (1)(a) is absurd. If every car on I-95 came to a complete stop whenever an emergency vehicle was en-route we’d have absolute pandemonium. Of course we need to get out of the way, but come to a complete stop against the curb? What???

    As for the picture with caption “When vehicles don’t move over”… In many documented cases what happens is a driver loses control *while attempting to move over* then over-corrects and winds up smashing into the parked vehicles. There are dozens of videos on the Internet that show this. If you’ll notice the car that’s out of control is coming in from a weird angle from the side, not directly in from behind the emergency vehicle. Here’s an example:

    Some people have no business trying to change lanes, let alone drive on the Interstate in the first place. I know what they are trying to accomplish, but just like “red light cameras” the solution may be as bad as the problem.

  3. Jojo says:

    As usual, this law was poorly pasted together and ill designed with numerous flaws to both Troopers and the driving public. I seen no protection for both only accidents waiting to happen.

    One of the dumbest laws Jeb Bush signed before leaving office was you don’t have to move over when driving in the “Left Lane”. Now cars wanting to pass play bumber tag and when that doesn’t work move into your lane without warning which creates road rage. Thanks Jeb.

  4. Initialjoe says:

    These laws are not accidents waiting to happen. It is stupid drivers who panic at the sight of police lights.

    I think this law is great, and if a driver feels that merging into traffic will cause an accident, they should not be driving. Merging is a fact of everyday driving life. Why not choose to drive slower than the limit?

  5. Billybob says:

    Here’s a better angle, you can see the vehicle comes from the FAR LEFT lane, crosses all lanes and still slams into the rear of the emergency vehicle. I wonder if they lost control while attempting to “move over” in the first place. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for safety. But this law could easily cause more accidents then it prevents with everybody in fear that they are going to get a ticket if they don’t get moved over soon enough.

    Don’t forget the money from the citations – these people are being ticketed although they have not crashed into anything, just because of their choice of lane. I suspect many / most of them have 0 points on their license, never a ticket, clean records. It’s probably those that consider themselves to be the “ultimate in safe drivers” who tend to drive in the far right lane anyway. It’s like they’re giving out a ticket for an accident “in advance” and saying “but you might have an accident someday”.

    Could someone clarify is it (on multi lane highways) “move over *OR* stay in the lane but slow down 20mph under the speed limit”, or is it *mandatory* that you move over? What if there’s a traffic jam and it’s bumper to bumper traffic in all lanes, do you still have to move over? What if the emergency vehicle is stopped in one of the traffic lanes due to an obstruction in the roadway?

    • John Smith says:

      The move over law for everyone to be perfectly clear to be able to understand is at This explains 2 lanes and multiple lanes of normal traffic with emergency vehicles sitting on the sides of the road. It also explains in situations when you cannot move over you slow down 20 miles per hour under the speed limit and if the speed limit is 20 you are to slow down to 5 mph. The law is pretty understandable. From someone who has to be out there standing on the side of the road and traffic whizzing by it is very dangerous and like the effort put on by the FHP.

  6. jespo says:

    The public should not have to suffer because someone does not know how to control their own vehicle. If you’re unable to make emergency maneuvers, speed up/slow down and pull over, or react quickly, maybe you shouldn’t be driving anymore or else stick in the slow right lane at all times and get the hell away from the emergency vehicle trying to save a life. Driving is not a right, it is a privilidge and a grave responsibility, and part of that responsibility is knowing how to command your own vehicle. If you can’t do it, get off the road. You are the danger.

    • FlaglerLive says:

      In the interest of not propagating a popular myth, we’re pointing out that driving is, in fact, a right, not a privilege, as well recognized by Circuit Judge Janet C. Thorpe in her ruling from a case from Florida’s Ninth Judicial Circuit (Orange County), Sultaana Lakiana Myke Freeman v. State of Florida, Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, June 6, 2003: “Although the Florida statutes use the term “driving privileges,” this does not mean that driving is a “privilege” rather than a “right.” The court recognizes that in Sherbert v. Verner, 374 US 398 (1963), the U.S. Supreme Court stated that the distinction between privilege and right is not meaningful when the benefit in question, i.e., being able to drive a car and thereby conduct normal life activities, is the same.”

      • jespo says:

        Courts recognize many things, but that doesn’t make their decision the correct one, so although your citings illustrate the legal definition of the two terms, their essence and real meaning is lost in the courtroom. No one has the right to get inside a metal box weighing 3000lbs full of combustible fuel, glass, and steel and drive it on public roadways without being able to control their vehicle properly simply because they have shopping to do. A license should mean something these days; it doesn’t. Road tests and driver training are a joke that a trained chimp could pass if given enough training. Responsibility to yourself and others, and yes that means driving a vehicle, is one of the greatest privilidges one can be offered, assumed, and lived…..I don’t have the right to treat it like a right….people’s lives are stake every moment that vehicle is moving. Just my opinion.

  7. Shane says:

    I drive an emergency vehicle every third day. It amazes me that when I am driving in emergency mode in the left lane leaving the right lane open for people to merge how flustered they get and do not know what to do. Many times they are not even paying attention or can’t hear the sirens because of distractions they have in their vehicles and wait till the last minute. I have also been hit on the side of I95 while operating an emergency vehicle with lights activated. Also how many times have we been at an accident scene working with patients when we hear the tires screeching and hear the crash all while trying to figure out if we should be jumping one way or the other to avoid being hit. IF people would be more aware of their surroundings while driving and not take part in distractions such as cell phones and loud music, many of the accidents we are dispatched to wouldn’t of occurred. All it takes is some common sense that if it is a four lane road and an emergency vehicle approaches you from behind, move to the right lane and slow down with due regard to let the vehicle pass. If it is a two lane road, move to the right and as far as you can and let the emergency vehicle pass. Again, this should be done with due regard. If you look at the statute, we also have to operate our vehicles with the due regard to the public on the roads when we are driving. At the end of the day, all we really want is for everyone to go home. This is just a little extra help for us when stopped on a road working a traffic accident that could involve you, your family or our family to keep all of us safe!!!

  8. Frank says:

    This law should be ABOLISHED. It is totally unsafe and this is from personal experience, not once but twice. My first experience was when the law was first instated. I was in the right lane along side a tractor trailer when suddenly he moved into my lane and I had to brake or he would have pushed me into the guard rail. This week was the second time. Again I was just passing a tractor trailer in the center lane on I95. I was in the center lane, the tracker trailer was in the right lane. He came over forcing me into the 3rd lane again because a patrol car had someone pulled over. Luckily there was no vehicle in that lane as I had no time to check all I could do was react to avoid a collision. Once again I was nearly in a serious accident all because of this pathetic law.

    I know some may say well they could have just slowed down instead of moving over. But they didn’t. They just reacted to avoid a ticket. If this happened to me twice just think how many others experienced the same thing. I would like to see some statistics on how many people have been involved in an accident due to this foolish law.

    I believe the law should be abolished or at the very least rewritten to remove the move over portion. Just make it that you should slow down.

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