As we all know, police officers have dangerous jobs. Not only do they have to contend with unpredictable situations when responding to or investigating crimes, police officers who work in highway patrol setting or assignment must face the prospect of being injured or killed due to a traffic crash or from being struck on the side of the road.
From 2000 to 2009, more than 700 officers lost their lives due to an automobile or motorcycle crash or from being struck and killed while outside their patrol vehicles. In 2010, the number of officers who were killed in the line of duty due to a traffic-related incident significantly increased. That year saw 50 officers die in an automobile crash, 16 struck and killed while outside of their vehicle, among other accidents, for a total of 73 — a 37 percent increase from the year before.
The Florida legislature was well aware of the hazards of traffic work for police officers and, as a result, enacted Florida’s Move Over law in 2002.
Most Floridians are familiar with the Move Over law, but here is a recap:
Florida Stat. sec. 316.126 states:
1. (b) If an authorized emergency vehicle displaying any visual signals is parked on the roadside, a sanitation vehicle is performing a task related to the provision of utility services on the roadside, 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:
- Shall vacate the lane closest to the emergency vehicle, sanitation vehicle, utility service 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, sanitation vehicle, utility service vehicle, or wrecker, except when otherwise directed by a law enforcement officer. If such movement cannot be safely accomplished, the driver shall reduce speed as provided in subparagraph
- 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.
It may have surprised you to learn that as of 2014, this law applies to sanitation vehicles stopped on the road of the road and tow trucks with yellow flashing lights, in addition to law enforcement officers.
Abiding by this law helps protect law enforcement officers, sanitation workers, tow company employees, and the like. Failing to comply with this law may subject you to a ticket. Worse yet, you could be responsible for a horrible accident that the law was designed to prevent.
Please help us minimize accidents involving persons whose jobs are to assist and protect us by complying with this law.
If the unthinkable has happened, and you have been injured in a car crash due to the negligence of another, or if your loved one has been killed in a car crash due to the negligence of another, don’t delay: call Brooks Law Group today.