By: Matt Horn
May 31st, 2013
If you are planning a driving trip this summer, the Highway Patrol is giving you fair warning that when you come to an emergency vehicle you need to be prepared to move over a lane. If you don’t, you will face a greater chance of getting a ticket.
Every day, state troopers put themselves in harms way when they encounter law breakers. “I’m Trooper Baker with Florida Highway Patrol. The reason I’m stopping you today is for failure to move over,” said FHP Trooper, Mark Baker as he pulled over a vehicle for the Move Over Law.
Trooper Baker has been with the Florida Highway Patrol since 2009. Since then, he was hit by a car that didn’t move over a lane, as the law requires. “It actually hit me in my shoulder. I was out of my car, on the shoulder of the roadway on the white line itself; and he clipped me on the left shoulder,” he said.
The requirement to move over a lane when approaching flashing lights has been on the books since 2002; Lieutenant James Shaw says the state will be stepping up enforcement as highways get busy with summer vacations. “We tell our troopers to always be alert and aware of your surroundings. You never know where the danger is going to come from,” said Lt. Shaw.
Earlier this month a trooper was hit in Orange County and made it out with no serious injuries. Last December another trooper was seriously injured on I-95 near Fort Lauderdale when her cruiser was slammed into by a truck.
If you see flashing lights on the side of the road, it’s state law to move over to the opposite lane. If you’re unable to move over, you must reduce your speed by 20 miles per hour.
Drivers are not only required to move over for emergency vehicles, but tow trucks, too. Tow truck driver Danny Bartholf has been hit three times since 1980 moving disabled cars from the side of the road. “I try to cut my time in the danger zone to a very minimum,” said Bartholf.
If you fail to move over and get caught, the fine is $166.
Every state in the country has a move over law besides Hawai’i and Washington, D.C.