A new statute came out in 2018 regarding how to drive when there's an emergency vehicle or accident. This month, Florida Highway Patrol will be promoting it and, most likely, enforcing it more heavily for the purposes of public awareness. What does this mean as a driver? You are more likely to get pulled over if you don't obey the Move Over Act!
What Is Florida's Move Over Act?
The Move Over Act, or technically speaking statute 316.126, dictates how Florida drivers should behave when driving around emergency vehicles and accidents. The Move Over Act requires that the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles will provide educational awareness, and January 2019 is the month in which they are providing this education.
The Move Over Act has several clauses, so we'll simplify the statute's complex language below if you don't feel like reading the full version (though you might want to take a look to make sure you are well informed).
What Qualifies as an Emergency Vehicle?
First, you need to understand what kind of vehicle demands your special attention on the road. The new rules apply to:
- Emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars
- Utility service vehicles, such as sanitation or electricity trucks
- Tow trucks and wreckers
For the Move Over Act to apply, the car or truck must be showing lights and/or sounding sirens or displaying visible signals. The only time this does not apply is if a police officer directs trafficc otherwise.
How Should Florida Drivers Behave around Emergency Vehicles?
If the vehicle in question is driving on the road and giving signals, you need to give the the right of way. Your job is to get over into the lane closest to the curb and stop until the vehicle has passed. If the vehicle has stopped to do maintenance, take care of an accident, or pick up a wrecked car, then you should make sure you're not in the lane closest to the area they are performing work. If you can't get over or you're on a two-lane road, then you should follow these rules depending on the scenario:
- On roads where the speed limit is 25 mph or higher, you must go 20 mph under the speed limit.
- If the speed limit is 20 mph or less, then you should slow down to 5 mph.
This rule applies to pedestrians too! Don't use a crosswalk or continue walking on the road if an emergency vehicle is sounding its alarms.
What If I Get a Citation?
If you don't remember to yield or reduce your speed, you could be looking at a ticket. Fortunately, it's a not a criminal charge, but a traffic infraction. However, you may be looking at 3 points on your license and a fine. If you are in this situation, it's best to go to court and try to at least get the points reduced. Even if you were not aware of the law or did not obey the law, you may still be able to get some leniency if you take the time to go to court and speak to the judge. It's always a good idea to educate yourself on the statute to determine whether or not the ticket you were given was valid, so be prepared!
Read more about the Florida DMV's campaign for the Move Over Act>>
Can Citations and Points on My License Impede My Ability to Get My Car Registered?
Yes. You should be careful - those points can add up, and if there's a problem with your license, you may not be able to get your car registered or registration renewed when the time comes. If you drive with expired registration, you're looking at fines and potentially jail time, depending on your circumstances. All those fees add up.
Take the easiest and quickest approach to updating your registration. Call Auto Tags of Florida at (954)848-4808 today!
Photo credit: Craig Adderley