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The Tragic Consequences of Failing to Move Over

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We have all been driving along one of Florida’s many scenic highways when we suddenly saw red and blue lights flashing in our rear view mirror. And as bad as you may feel for a driver who gets pulled over, it’s human nature to concurrently thank your lucky stars that it isn’t you. However, as your car approaches the scene of a traffic stop or roadside accident, do you react appropriately and move over? More importantly, do you understand why you should?

What is Florida’s Move Over Law?

Under Florida statute 316.126, drivers in the Sunshine State are legally required to move over for emergency and service vehicles stopped along the roadway. More specifically, even when a motorist cannot safely exit the lane closest to the emergency or service vehicle, he or she is still legally required to slow to a speed that is 20 miles per hour less than the posted speed limit.

Why Does Florida Have a Move Over Law?

The Move Over law in Florida, as in other states, was enacted in order to provide an added layer of protection to transportation workers, roadway professionals and emergency service provider. Whether trying to put out a fire or handling a traffic stop, these kinds of laws are intended to boost safety for these emergency personnel.

Why is it Important to Adhere to the Move Over Law?

Because unfortunately, drivers who violate this law can pose a danger to both themselves and others. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2017 alone there were over 200 car accidents that occurred as the result of motorists who failed to move over.

What Trend has Already Started This Year?

Sadly, an unfortunate trend has already began in 2019. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has issued a nationwide reminder to drivers to move over because emergency responders are increasingly becoming injured themselves while trying to assist others. Several states have already reported an increase in the number of accidents that have happened this year because drivers failed to move over and crashed into emergency responders.

What Kind of Vehicles Should Drivers Move Over For?

  • Ambulances
  • Police cruisers
  • Firetrucks
  • Towing trucks
  • Any other kind of unmarked vehicle that is clearly attempting to reach the scene of an emergency

How Should Drivers Approach an Emergency Scene?

  • Immediately slow down the vehicle
  • Pay attention to the road
  • Refrain from distracted driving
  • Watch for other vehicles to suddenly change lanes
  • Yield the right of way by making a lane change into an adjacent lane
  • Maintain a safe speed for the road conditions when changing lanes is not possible

Have You Or a Loved One Been Injured in an Accident as the Result of Another Driver’s Failure to Move Over?

Then fortunately, we can help. Whether you are a resident of South Florida or were simply passing through during a vacation, you will need competent legal help to fight for you while you focus on recovering. Contact the experienced Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorneys of The Pendas Law Firm today and we will help you recover the compensation you are entitled to.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the Tampa, Orlando, Miami, Fort Myers, Daytona, Jacksonville, and Bradenton areas.

Resources:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0300-0399/0316/Sections/0316.126.html

nhtsa.gov/several-states-report-spike-drivers-crashing-police

https://www.pendaslaw.com/the-increasing-fatality-rate-in-accidents-involving-pedestrians/

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