Florida authorities are joining forces to reduce the number of traffic accidents involving stopped emergency vehicles or construction zones, where crashes are among the leading causes of fatal South Florida road construction accidents, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.
Construction zones and stopped emergency vehicles are a break from the driving norm, and can also pose distractions for highway drivers. Consequently there is an increased risk of car accidents in West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale and throughout South Florida.
Law enforcement agencies from throughout the southeastern United States announced a campaign aimed at motorists who violate the “Move Over” laws of each state. The Florida Highway Patrol will join the Alabama Department of Public Safety, Georgia State Patrol, Tennessee Highway Patrol and South Carolina Highway Patrol in taking enforcement action against motorists who do not move over or slow down for stopped emergency vehicle’s or road crews displaying flashing lights.
“All too often, a law enforcement officer, paramedic or wrecker operator is seriously injured or killed just doing their job because a vehicle got too close,” said Florida Highway Patrol Director, Colonel John Czernis. “That is why our law includes protection for all first responders, emergency personnel and wrecker operators. All of these people put their lives at risk. Every one of them deserves protection under the law.”
The campaign is scheduled to run from Nov. 6 to Nov. 12. While officials have not said how they will conduct enforcement, it typically involves a decoy cruiser at the side of the road with activated emergency lights. Chase vehicles are then used to stop and ticket violators.
Florida law requires motorists to vacate the lane closest to a stopped emergency vehicle or wrecker with flashing lights. If moving over is not possible, a driver must slow to 20 mph below the posted speed limit.
Freeman & Mallard is a personal injury and wrongful death law firm dedicated to helping motorists who have been injured in Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and the Port St. Lucie/Fort Pierce areas. Call today for a free consultation. 1-800-529-2368.