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Semi Ignores the Florida Move-Over Law

In mid-July, a semi-truck collided with a fire truck that was parked on the side of the road on Florida’s Turnpike in Osceola County. First responders were trying to free a trapped driver in an earlier rollover accident at the time. Debris from the collision nearly hit emergency personnel. The semi also came very close to other emergency vehicles, and emergency personnel fled for safety.

Taking Safety Precautions

Emergency personnel put their lives on the line when they help those in need. This type of situation is one of the greatest dangers of helping those who have already been in an accident, especially when the accident occurs on the highway or interstate. However, first responders train to avoid injuries in this type of situation.

The emergency team placed traffic cones up and used emergency lights to alert drivers of the accident. They do their best to keep other traffic away from the scene. In addition, fire rescue teams park the fire truck at an angle to protect crews from oncoming traffic while they work. Of course, accidents like these delay rescue efforts as well, which could be the difference between life and death in some situations. Thankfully, no one was in the fire truck the semi hit in this case, but injuries could have been severe.

Florida’s Move Over Law

The following is a quick overview of Florida’s Move Over Law. Keep in mind that, as of 2014, this law also applies to sanitation vehicles and utility service vehicles.

  • Vehicles are required to switch lanes on multi-lane highways to avoid getting too close to emergency crews. As soon as the driver realizes that there is an emergency, they should switch lanes when it is safe to do so.

  • If you cannot move over, then you should slow down to at least 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

  • If you are on a two-lane highway or road, then you should slow down to 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit.

  • If the speed limit is 20 miles per hour or less, then you should slow to 5 miles per hour to go past the emergency scene.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles reminds drivers that they should stay alert around emergency scenes to avoid further accidents. Failing to adhere to Florida’s Move-Over law puts public safety professionals and yourself at risk. They also do not recommend that you completely stop your vehicle if you cannot change lanes. It is important to keep traffic moving through the scene.

Those who violate the Florida Move-Over law are susceptible to fines and points on their driver’s license. In the semi case, the crash report stated that the driver was driving in a “careless or negligent” manner. The driver was ticketed for careless driving.

Civil Liability When Violating Florida’s Move Over Law

If there is an accident, it could also mean civil liability as well. For example, imagine that you are already in a car accident and emergency teams are responding. While you are being removed from the vehicle, another car runs through though cones and hits your car again. You will likely have a personal injury claim against not only the person who caused the first accident, but also the person who hit your car a second time.

Injuring or killing a public safety professional also comes with its own unique consequences that could result in criminal liability. As a general rule, it is easier to prove civil liability when the person at fault was also breaking the law at the time the accident occurred.

An Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help

If someone who violated the Florida Move-Over law has harmed you or a loved one, a seasoned car accident lawyer can help you. At The Law Offices of Robert W. Elton, we have the experience and skill necessary to get you the compensation that you deserve. Call our office today at 386-274-2229 for a free consultation.

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