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'Move Over Month' aims to protect first responders in Florida

States and federal organizations take steps to reduce accidents. This past January was "Move Over Month" in Florida, an initiative that highlighted the state's move over law. Under this law, when a motorist is on a multi-lane road and there is a stopped police car, emergency vehicle, utility worker, tow truck or sanitation worker on the side of the road, if it is safe to do so, the motorist should move one lane over. This is so the motorist can keep a safe distance from these responders so they can perform their duties. If it is a two-lane road or moving over is for some other reason impossible, motorists should travel a minimum of 20 miles per hour below the posted speed limit when passing these vehicles.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, over 200 motor vehicle accidents took place in 2018 that were caused when motorists did not follow the move over law. One worker in the tow truck industry stated that distracted driving is an issue on Florida roads. He says motorists are paying more attention to their phones than the roads, which puts the lives of others who are simply trying to help others in jeopardy.

Motorists must make sure they follow all traffic laws, including the move over law. These laws are in place to keep motorists and those around them safe. In general, when a motorist violates a traffic law while behind the wheel, he or she has also breached his or her civil duty of care. If these actions lead to a car accident that injures another person, the motorist could face liability and the victim might be able to pursue compensation.

First responders and others who must perform their jobs on the side of the road deserve to stay safe when they come to the aid of others. Motorists must be cognizant of those around them when they drive. Moving over to give these workers enough space to safely do their job ultimately benefits all those who face such situations.

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