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Monday, June 14, 2010
Move Over America: Act on the Move Over Act
Many Florida motorists will sporadically notice "Move Over Act" advertisement on a toll booth sign, on a static roadside sign, on a sizeable billboard, on a “Rest Area” sign, on a gas bump sticker, or on a bus stop bench, just to name a few. But how many take the time and follow-up and go over the “Move Over”? And an estimated 71 percent of Americans have not heard of Move Over laws. Unfortunately, numerous drivers still do not act on the Move Over Act causing severe motor vehicle crashes with emergency vehicles parked along the roadway. This legislation act was passed in Florida in 2002 in order to protect our law enforcement officers and emergency responder employees from deaths & injuries caused by distracted and reckless motorists. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, during a five-year period from 1996-2000: 1,793 motorists crashed into law enforcement vehicles that were parked on the side of the road causing 5 deaths and 419 injuries. Emergency vehicles include a patrol car, a fire rescue truck, an ambulance, a tow truck, and a road ranger vehicle. Learn more about the Move Over Act at http://www.moveoveramerica.com/.
Here is a summary of the "Move Over Act", courtesy of the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles:
- If you are driving on a road with multiple lanes going in the same direction, and approach an emergency vehicle parked along the roadway, you must vacate the lane closest to that vehicle as soon as it is safe to do so. In other words, carefully change lanes if you are able to do so. And do not forget your turn signals!
- If you are unable to move over safely, or if you are on a road with only one lane in each direction, you must slow down to a speed 20 mph below the speed limit, unless a law-enforcement officer tells you otherwise. If the speed limit is 20 mph, you must slow down to 5 mph. In other words, if you cannot change lanes, please slow down.
If you don’t move over, the penalty is about $149, depending on the county, and three points on your license. But more seriously, you could crash into an emergency vehicle or strike an emergency worker, causing serious injury or death. You could injure or kill another person or yourself. And at the end of the day, or beginning & middle for that matter, the Move Over Act is not a tough act to follow.
Now let’s move on to another traffic safety measure that drivers should follow in parallel of vehicles parked along the roadway. We as motorists can all relate with the grueling sensation of a driver attending to a vehicle malfunction or a flat tire on the shoulder of a road or highway. Times like these can be so frustrating that you might need a “shoulder” to cry on; especially under that scorching Florida sun. Therefore, if you are driving on a lane next to a parked vehicle on the side of the road or highway, please also follow similar instructions as in the “Move Over Act”; move over by changing lanes if possible or slow down. Too many motorists attending to vehicle malfunctions are killed by speeding vehicles crashing into them and killing them on the spot. So let’s please invoke Driver Empathy; that could be you changing that flat tire as vehicles are zooming at high speeds just a few feet away from you.
So please move over or slow down- and help protect those who help protect us and also those who drive with us.