AAA issued a reminder on Wednesday that January is “Move Over” month in the Sunshine State.
AAA and the Auto Club Group showcased the “Slow Down, Move Over” law which “requires passing motorists to give adequate space to law enforcement, tow truck drivers, utility service vehicles and other first responders that are stopped on the side of the road.”
Matt Nasworthy, the Florida Public Affairs Director of AAA and the Auto Club Group, weighed in on the law on Wednesday.
“This law is in place to protect those who protect us,” said Nasworthy. “Not focusing on the road puts your life and others at risk. To help ensure everyone’s safety, drivers should also move over or slow down if a motorist is stranded on the side of the road.”
“According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), in 2017 there were 220 crashes and 7 serious bodily injuries reported as a result of motorists failing to move over,” AAA noted. “More than 19,000 citations were issued in 2017. These alarming statistics further indicate the importance of the Move Over law.”
DHSMV also addressed the matter on Wednesday as Terry Rhodes, the executive director of the department, stressing how important the law is.
“When a crash occurs, law enforcement and first responders are there,” Rhodes said. “When a disabled vehicle needs assistance, Road Rangers or tow truck drivers are there. When power lines need repairs, utility and service workers are there.
“The Move Over Law is in place to protect those who serve all of us on the roadways, giving them a safe space to do their jobs. Move Over, Florida, and help ensure that these public servants come home safely each day,” Rhodes added.
AAA offers these precautionary tips while driving on Florida’s roadways:
• Use common sense: Watch for situations where emergency vehicles, tow vehicles, sanitation and utility service vehicles are pulled off on the side of the road.
• Two-Lane Roadway: When approaching an emergency vehicle with lights flashing parked on the side of a two-lane road, you MUST slow down to 20 mph below the posted speed limit and approach with caution, unless otherwise directed by an emergency worker on the scene.
• Multi-Lane Roadway: Slow down when you see the flashing lights of an emergency vehicle on the roadside, and – if you can – move over into an adjacent lane. If you cannot change lanes, reduce your speed to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
• Stay Alert: Pay attention to changes in traffic patterns and speed limits.
• Be Courteous: Look out for motorists stranded on the side of the road waiting for assistance.
• Don’t Drive Distracted: Anything that takes your mind off the task of driving is a distraction.
• PUT IT DOWN – no text or call is worth a life
“By following these simple rules, we are giving law enforcement officials and other emergency personnel space to do their jobs while saving lives,” AAA insisted.