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Thursday, August 27, 2009
Move-Over For Safety - (Help Protect First Responders While They Protect You)
Florida's Move-Over Law requires motorists who encounter an emergency vehicle with its emergency lights flashing, to Move-Over into the opposite lane or, if they are unable to move into the opposite lane, to slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit. Forty six states have passed similar laws to protect emergency workers who are working alongside the road.
Nationwide, between 1999 and 2008, 154 law enforcement officers were killed while conducting traffic stops or aiding motorists; that is more than one per month. According to the FBI, traffic crashes kill more law enforcement officers than any other cause of death in the line of duty, including shootings. Many state laws not only include fire and police emergency personnel but tow truck operators as well. According to the Towing and Recovery Association of America, tow truck operators are killed at a rate of more than 2 per month while conducting recovery operations on the side of the road.
While not every state law includes construction workers, drivers should also get into the Move-Over habit when approaching construction vehicles that have their amber lights flashing. Construction workers are killed alongside America's roads at a rate of 2.3 per day.
Although Florida's law went into effect in 2002, very few motorists are aware of it. The National Safety Commission, the organization responsible for the nationwide "Move-Over America" campaign conducted a poll that found that more than 70 percent of Americans are unaware of the Move-Over requirement. Even though most were unaware of the law, the poll showed that 90 percent believe that traffic stops are dangerous for emergency personnel and 86 percent support passing Move-Over laws in all 50 states.
Colonel Chris A. Knight, Executive Director of the National Safety Commission and the former Director of the Florida Highway Patrol said "While it is difficult to know how many law enforcement officers have been saved by Move-Over laws, it's safe to say that the legislatures in the 46 states that have passed the law have contributed to the safety of law enforcement officers doing their job."
To see if your state has a Move-Over Law and to learn details of the law, visit http://www.moveoveramerica.com/ and click on your state on the map. If your state does not have a Move-Over law, the web site also provides an opportunity for you to sign a petition to let your state representatives know that you want one.