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Lakeland Family & Divorce Attorney / Blog / Motor Vehicle Accidents / What is Florida’s “move over” law, and is it effective?

What is Florida’s “move over” law, and is it effective?

You are driving in Lakeland when you see an emergency vehicle stopped on the side of the road, assisting a prior crash. What do you do? According to Florida law, you must move over to ensure you do not collide with the stopped vehicle.

What are move over laws?

Florida’s move over law requires you to change lanes for certain vehicles stopped on the side of the road or in a lane of traffic, to minimize the chance that you will strike them. The types of vehicles you must move over for include:

  • Police cars
  • Ambulances and fire trucks
  • Tow trucks
  • Garbage trucks and utility service vehicles
  • Certain road maintenance and construction vehicles

If it is not possible to safely move over or if you are on a two-lane road, you must slow down to 20mph under the speed limit when encountering these vehicles. If the speed limit is already under 20 mph, you must drive at 5 mph when encountering these vehicles.

Are move over laws working?

Move over laws are meant to prevent crashes, but are they effective? Some would say “no.”

AAA reports that annually, almost 350 people across the United States lose their lives when a motorist violates state move over laws. AAA identifies Florida as one of the three most dangerous states for driver fatalities. AAA supports amending the state’s move over laws to apply to any disabled vehicle pulled over to the side of the road or stopped in a lane of traffic.

So, it can be argued that Florida’s move over laws need to do more to keep all motorists safe. Move over laws might prevent some car crashes, but fatalities will continue if motorists do not heed these legal requirements.

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