In the bustling streets of Florida, safety should always be a top priority for drivers and pedestrians. Car accidents can have devastating consequences, leading to injuries, financial burdens, and even loss of life. Florida has enacted several laws to enhance safety on the roads, one of which is the Move Over Law.
At Joe Horrox, LLC, we understand the importance of this law and how it helps prevent car accidents. However, if you are involved in an accident due to someone’s negligence or wrongful act, we can help. Our personal injury lawyers in Florida can provide the legal advice, guidance, and representation you need to collect the compensation you deserve.
Learn more about the Move Over law here and the legal implications of it.
What Is Florida’s Move-Over Law?
Florida’s Move Over Law, officially known as Florida Statute 316.126, is designed to safeguard law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and tow truck drivers while performing their duties on the side of the road. This law requires all drivers to move over one lane when approaching these stopped vehicles displaying flashing lights. If changing lanes isn’t possible for traffic or other reasons, drivers must slow down to at least 20 mph less than the posted speed limit.
Why Was the Move Over Law Enacted?
The primary objective of Florida’s Move Over Law is to reduce the risk of accidents and protect the lives of those who work on Florida’s roadways. By creating a buffer zone for these workers, the law aims to minimize the chances of collisions caused by distracted or inattentive drivers. This law acknowledges the dangerous nature of these jobs and the need to ensure the safety of those who carry them out.
The Need for Florida’s Move-Over Law
To emphasize the importance of Florida’s Move Over Law, let’s delve into some concerning statistics related to road safety in the state:
- High Traffic Volume: Florida is known for its heavy traffic, with millions of vehicles on the road daily. This congestion increases the likelihood of accidents and collisions.
- Rising Accident Rates: In recent years, Florida has witnessed an alarming increase in car accidents. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), over 340,000 traffic crashes in 2020 alone resulted in thousands of injuries and fatalities.
- Worker Fatalities: Between 2016 and 2020, Florida lost 53 first responders and service personnel in the line of duty due to accidents caused by drivers failing to move over or slow down.
These statistics highlight the pressing need for measures like the Move Over Law to protect those who work on Florida’s roads and reduce the overall number of accidents.
How the Move Over Law Helps Prevent Car Accidents
The Move Over Law was specifically designed to protect first responders and others working on the side of the road. Some of the specific ways it helps prevent car accidents include the following:
- Increased Awareness: The Move Over Law raises awareness among drivers about the importance of being cautious when approaching emergency vehicles and tow trucks on the side of the road. This heightened awareness can lead to more responsible driving behaviors.
- Reduced Speed Differential: The law reduces the speed differential between vehicles on the road by requiring drivers to slow down when they can’t change lanes. This helps prevent sudden, high-speed collisions and gives drivers more time to react to unexpected situations.
- Enhanced Safety for Workers: The primary benefit of the Move Over Law is the protection it offers those working on Florida’s roadways. Law enforcement officers, emergency responders, and tow truck operators can perform their duties with greater confidence, knowing that there is a legal requirement for other drivers to provide them with space.
- Deterrence: Knowing that there are legal consequences for not obeying the Move Over Law is a deterrent for reckless driving behaviors. Penalties for violating the law include fines and points on the driver’s license, which can encourage compliance.
Penalties for Violating Florida’s Move-Over Law
Understanding the penalties for violating the Move Over Law is crucial for personal injury lawyers in Florida, as it can directly impact their cases. The penalties for failing to move over or slow down for stopped emergency vehicles or tow trucks in Florida include:
- Fines: A first offense can result in a fine of up to $500. If the violation causes damage to property or injury to another person, the fine can increase to $1,000.
- License Points: Violating the Move Over Law can add three points to a driver’s license.
- Potential Criminal Charges: In cases where the violation leads to serious injury or death, criminal charges may be filed against the driver, potentially resulting in more severe penalties, including imprisonment.
Defending Victims of Move-Over Law Violations
As a personal injury lawyer in Florida, it’s essential to be prepared to represent clients involved in accidents caused by Move Over Law violations. Such accidents can result in serious injuries, including:
- Whiplash and Neck Injuries: Sudden impacts from rear-end collisions can cause whiplash, neck strain, and other soft tissue injuries.
- Broken Bones: High-speed collisions can lead to fractures and broken bones.
- Spinal Cord Injuries: Severe accidents can cause spinal cord injuries, resulting in long-term disabilities.
- Traumatic Brain Injuries: Head injuries can lead to traumatic brain injuries, affecting cognitive and motor functions.
- Wrongful Death: In the worst cases, Move Over Law violations can result in fatal accidents, leading to wrongful death claims.
Personal injury lawyers are crucial in helping victims of Move Over Law violations seek compensation for their medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages resulting from these accidents. It’s essential to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of each case, gather evidence, and work diligently to hold the at-fault driver accountable.
Contact Our Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Florida
Florida’s Move Over Law is vital in preventing car accidents and protecting the lives of those who work on the state’s roadways. By raising awareness, enforcing penalties, and advocating for victims, we can all contribute to safer roads in the Sunshine State.
If you were injured because someone violated this law, contact our office at (386) 202-9198. At Joe Horrox Law, LLC, we offer free consultations to discuss your case.