It's Important To Move Over: Two Emergency Responders, Including Tow Workers, Are Struck And Killed Every Month
May 11, 2023
For years, Florida drivers have been required by Law to slow down and move over for First Responders on the roadside. With the expanded Law, Florida becomes the 15th State Requiring Motorists to also move over for a broken-down vehicle on the roadside.
The Move Over Law is a safety measure that aims to protect those who work on or near the roadways, including Law Enforcement Officers, Emergency Responders, Tow Operators, and Maintenance Workers. This Law Requires Motorists to move over one lane or slow down to a safe speed when they see these workers on the side of the road. Failure to do so can result in a Fine and other Penalties.
The Move Over Law has been in place in Florida since 2002, but this recent Bill, HB 425, expands the Law to include: Disabled Vehicles displaying their Hazard Lights, Emergency Flares, or Emergency Signage. This means that if you see a Disabled Vehicle on the roadside with any of these Warning Signs, you must move over one lane or slow down to a safe speed.
According to the Bill, Violators of this Law could be Cited with a Non-Criminal Moving Violation and a Fine of up to $158. This may seem like a small Penalty, but it is important to remember that the purpose of this Law is to protect the lives of those who work on or near the roadways. In 2016-2020, an average of nearly 350 people per year were struck and killed while outside a Disabled Vehicle on the roadside. This is a staggering number that demonstrates the urgent need for this Law.
The Move Over Law is not only important for the Safety of those who work on or near the roadways, but also for the Safety of all Motorists. When drivers fail to move over or slow down for workers on the roadside, they increase the risk of causing an accident. This can lead to Injuries, Property Damage, and even Fatalities.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, on average, two Emergency Responders, including Tow Workers, are struck and killed every month by a driver who fails to obey the Law by moving over to an adjacent lane and allowing the Roadside Rescuers the space to operate. This is a disturbing trend that must be addressed, and the Move Over Law is a step in the right direction.
Roadside crashes are notably deadly for Tow Workers. Government data shows that Tow Operators are killed at a rate of almost 43 deaths per 100,000 workers, compared to just three for all other industries. This underscores the importance of the Move Over Law for Tow Operators, who often work in dangerous conditions on the side of the road.
The passage of this Bill is a victory for the Safety of all Floridians, and it is a reminder that we must all do our part to keep our roads safe. As Motorists, we have a responsibility to obey the Law and to be vigilant when driving on the roadways. This means paying attention to the road and to the workers on the side of the road, and taking the necessary precautions to keep everyone safe.
In conclusion, the passage of Florida's Expanded Move Over Law is a significant step in the right direction for Road Safety. This Law not only protects the lives of those who work on or near the roadways, but also the lives of all Motorists. With the passage of this Law, Florida becomes the 15th State to Require Motorists to move over for Disabled Vehicles on the roadside, and this is a positive development for the Safety of all Floridians. As we move forward, it is important that we continue to educate the public about the importance of this Law and to Enforce it rigorously to ensure that everyone stays Safe on the roadways.