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Get the latest coverage of the 2023 Florida legislative session in Tallahassee from our coverage partners and WUSF.

Changes are coming to Florida’s Move Over law for drivers

Florida becomes the 17th state requiring motorists to move over for a broken-down vehicle on the roadside, even when first responders aren’t present.
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Florida becomes the 17th state requiring motorists to move over for a broken-down vehicle on the roadside, even when first responders aren’t present.

Florida becomes the 17th state requiring motorists to move over for a broken-down vehicle on the roadside, even when first responders aren’t present.

A broad transportation bill recently signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis includes a component that directly affects drivers.

It expands Florida’s Move Over law to include any disabled vehicle. But, it won’t go into effect right away.

“This is Trooper Dave Rodriguez with the Florida Highway Patrol reminding you of Florida’s Move Over law. I myself am a victim as I was struck in 2012 by a distracted driver who failed to move over while I was working up on the highway. Now I have lifelong injuries to deal with.”

That public service announcement for the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles touts the Move Over law that’s already in effect. It requires drivers to move into a different lane, if possible, when first responders are on the roadside. That includes law enforcers and utility trucks.

But AAA Auto Club’s Mark Jenkins says that often doesn’t happen, and the deaths are stacking up nationwide.

“On average, two emergency responders, that includes tow truck workers, are struck and killed every month by a driver who fails to obey the law by moving over," Jenkins says. "Just during a four year period, an average of nearly 350 people per year were struck and killed while outside a disabled vehicle on the roadside.”

Now, AAA says Florida becomes the 17th state requiring motorists to move over for a broken-down vehicle on the roadside, even when first responders aren’t present.

“The law as it is written basically requires drivers who are on the roadside to turn on their hazard lights," Jenkins says. "If that vehicle has flashing lights on, you should certainly move over, and you could be ticketed if you don't.”

The resulting fine will cost up to $158.

If traffic is heavy and moving over isn’t an option, the law says those driving closest to the roadside vehicle should decrease their speed by 20 miles per hour. The law is even more restrictive on low speed, two-lane roads.

The change is part of broad legislation that includes a long list of actions related to transportation. The law (HB 425) goes into effect in July, but drivers will get extra time to adhere to the "move over" requirement. That part of the new law won’t be in effect until January 2024.

Copyright 2023 WFSU. To see more, visit WFSU.

Gina Jordan is the host of Morning Edition for WFSU News. Gina is a Tallahassee native and graduate of Florida State University. She spent 15 years working in news/talk and country radio in Orlando before becoming a reporter and All Things Considered host for WFSU in 2008. She left after a few years to spend more time with her son, working part-time as the capital reporter/producer for WLRN Public Media in Miami and as a drama teacher at Young Actors Theatre. She also blogged and reported for StateImpact Florida, an NPR education project, and produced podcasts and articles for AVISIAN Publishing. Gina has won awards for features, breaking news coverage, and newscasts from contests including the Associated Press, Green Eyeshade, and Murrow Awards. Gina is on the Florida Associated Press Broadcasters Board of Directors. Gina is thrilled to be back at WFSU! In her free time, she likes to read, travel, and watch her son play football. Follow Gina Jordan on Twitter: @hearyourthought