Move Over Laws Protect Emergency Responders on Roads

Move Over Laws Protect Emergency Responders on Roads

Move Over laws have been enacted across the United States, including Florida, and require that drivers move over into different lanes to give safe clearance to emergency responders on the roadways. These laws originated following the 1994 death of a South Carolina paramedic who was struck by a car at the scene of an accident. The paramedic was found to be at fault for the accident, which caused a nationwide push to develop laws protecting any emergency responder working on the side of the road from injury by passing vehicles.

Canadian Law Points to Room for Improvement in FL

The Move Over law legally requires that drivers move away from an emergency vehicle with flashing lights by at least one lane or slow their vehicle. This law is also enforced in Canada. In British Columbia, the government is seeking to simplify the law to help ensure the safety of workers.

In B.C., the law will apply to any vehicle with a flashing light on the side of the road, such as:

  • Police cars
  • Fire trucks
  • Ambulances
  • Tow trucks
  • Park rangers
  • Safety enforcement officers

This new law will make it easier for drivers to know when to move over. If there are flashing lights, drivers should slow down and move to another lane. This now includes construction and other roadside workers that are employed close to roadways.

This new application of the Canadian Move Over laws is broader than many applications of these laws in the United States. Under the Florida laws, only workers in emergency vehicles, sanitation vehicles, and utility service vehicles are protected. If a driver is on a multi-lane stretch of road, they must get into the next lane. On a two-lane road, drivers must reduce their speed to either 20 or 5 miles per hour. If this law is broken, a fine and points on the driver's license can be incurred.

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